Interview

An 18 minute interview with Ms Drew Smith on her teaching persona, recorded May 2nd 

 Ari will stand for the interviewer, Ari Hensley, and Ms. Smith will be Ms. Smith for obvious reasons and organization’s sake.

 

Ari – “You are okay with me recording this, right?”

 

Ms. Smith – “Mhmm” (hums in affirmative)

 

Ari – “Okay cool, because I need to transcribe it onto paper.”

Ms. Smith –    “It’s no problem”

 

Ari – “Kay, so first question, um, what is your teaching background, how did you start 

teaching, and what was your prior teaching experience like, if you have any?”

 

Ms. Smith – “Whew, loaded question. Um, so. Um, I grew up in church, and I always liked to

 teach Sunday School. Like, I always liked to be the person who got to have 

everyone sit like in a circle or a round and like lead discussions, or um, y’know 

use a (an interruption for a student to go to the office on the intercom) use a dry 

erase board and to put like assignments on a board. Um, I would often take my 

tests home from school and stuff and make my brothers do them, just to see how

smart they were. Right? So I always kind of had like an inclination towards 

teaching, as a little girl. Um, as I grew up, I decided that, ‘hmm, that would be a 

really awesome career choice, and y’know, really fun to get to impact people like 

actually impact people, not pretend impact people’. (laughs)  And so, umm, I

decided in college to major in education! However, I ended up second guessing 

myself  and changing my major like three different times. It originally started with

 English Education and ended at like- brain surgery, or neurosurgeon, or 

something at one point, tell that to organic chemistry, um bleh. Um, and then after

 that, I was like, ‘You know what? What am I really passionate about?’And  I 

knew I was passionate about teaching and I was like ‘But it’s too late to try and

 get like an actual Educators degree, so what can I do that can springboard me in,

 to getting at least an alternate route degree?’ And I thought about what I really 

loved. I was like ‘I really love history, I like being involved in politics,’ and I was

 like ‘I want to major in political science, with a minor in history.’ So I did! And, 

then from that, I was able to get my masters of arts and teaching, which is an, um,

 alternate route degree.But, it’s… It’s–it’s a degree nonetheless. Like you don’t 

have to have a bachelor’s to become a teacher. Um, or a bachelors in teaching to

 become a teacher. And, umm, I graduated December of 2019? And then, you 

know, come like March of 2020 everything is locked down, the world is in chaos

 (laughs), and I’m jobless. So, I asked around for like y’know, all of the schools 

are shut down, so like how in the world am I going to get hired? Well, there was a

 private school in my area that ended up needing a history teacher. So, I applied, I 

got accepted, and I taught there for two years, um, teaching seventh through 

twelfth grade. All different kinds of history you can think of, I was teaching. And

 the Spanish One class. Um, so that was fun. And then I decided to apply for other

 jobs because that job didn’t give me insurance, and when you have to learn to be 

an adult, you have to learn to do adult things, like get insurance. So, I started 

applying to schools, and nobody hired me. I don’t know why ‘cause I was very

 qualified. But, It was more, I think about, not having the right position open. Like

 there wasn’t a lot of English. I had gotten 18 hours of English under my belt in 

college, so I was able to tack that onto my social sciences degree; so I can teach

 social sciences and I can teach english. Um, And then I had put in an application

 to the Alaska teacher placement program, like back when I first graduated, uh, 

early 2020, and I started getting interviews, and ended up here teaching English.

 Um, Pretty cool story, pretty fun story. Uh, but, whether I’m back in Mississippi

 or whether I’m here in Alaska, teaching is teaching, right? Um, the field is 

competitive, even though they say like ‘there’s such a need for teachers’, which

 there is. Um, but if you want to get into a good district and in a good school, it is

 quite competitive. Um, but I love it, I love what I do, I love getting to inspire the

 next generation and try to help the next generation think logically and critically, 

um, you know, skill that you just learn in English class, but you use for the rest of

 your life. So, that’s kind of been my experience, so this is your three, concluding 

your degree of teaching.”  

 

Ari – “Nice! Um, off topic, but do you particularly like Alaska?”

 

Ms. Smith – “Yeah. I do, I love it here, it’s a lot different than Mississippi. But that’s why I like  

  1. I love Mississippi, don’t get me wrong, and I miss my family, but I do love it 

Here.”

 

Ari – “The Air is, I would assume, a lot cleaner than some states.”

 

Ms. Smith – “I’m from a small town back home.”

 

Ari – “Oh! Nice.”

 

Ms. Smith – “Mhmm (Affirmative), clean air, perfectly fine. Just hot. Oh, so hot.”

 

Ari – “Well, it’s also very cold up here.”

 

Ms. Smith – “Yeah.”

 

Ari – “Summers get only up to like 70.”

 

Ms. Smith – “Yeah.”

 

Ari – “Um, next question. What do you think you are like as a person, and what do you 

think you are like as a teacher in contrast to that? Are they different personalities? 

If so, why?” 

 

Ms. Smith – Um, who I am as a person versus who I am as a teacher. I don’t think it’s too 

different. Um, I like to be my authentic self with my students because I feel like 

putting up a persona puts a boundary between you and your students. When 

teaching, we have a generation of independent thinkers, and it’s, um, you know, if

 I was teaching back in the 1800’s or something than I would be like ‘I’m the 

teacher, you’re the student, that’s the boundary line. Like you don’t get a say, you

 do it, what I say, what I command’, right? We don’t, we don’t teach like that 

anymore, right? We like to have inclusivity, and we like to have, um, diversity of

 thought, and we like to have student voice and input. So I feel like to achieve 

trust with my students, to make them feel safe and comfortable talking to me and

 voicing their opinion, I need to be my authentic self, and I am. And they’re like 

‘oh, she’s human. She has good days, she has bad days’ um ‘she listens to me, 

y’know, she listens to what I have to say’. Then, I think it’s easier to gain trust 

with my students and be able to have that voice and the choice that I want to 

implement. Um, I think my personality traits, such as um, being a determined

 person, being a person who empathizes, being a person who likes to think outside

 of the box with things, and being a person who just likes to talk and have 

discussions makes this career choice perfect for me. Because it’s like I just get to 

hang out with people all day every day and have discussions and read a book, 

that’s fun. (laughs) That’s what I like doing.”

 

Ari – “So, you would say there’s not really a clear division between your teaching 

persona and your normal self?”

 

Ms. Smith – “I would say probably not. The only distinction I think I would implement would 

be, y’know the fact that I am a younger teacher, so I do have to establish that I’m still the adult in the room, and I still have to maintain the responsibility and not become a sister to some of the… It’s easy to step into that role because I am so laid back and nonchalant and carefree of all things, so.”

Ari – “So, um, would you think that you present any kind of personality traits more than 

you would normally, no like your friends and stuff, to your students? Or do you think that’s just like, there’s no, like, clear distinction from what you’ve already said?”

 

Ms. Smith – “Probably no clear distinction. Other than that one little thing because, I dunno, I

don’t want to wear a lot of different masks. I’d rather just…”

 

Ari – “Well, we have been learning in my class that the teacher persona is more like just 

hightining some parts of your personality to better suit and better help your learning environment for teachers rather than just putting on a mask.”

 

Ms. Smith – “Yeah… That’s, that’s interesting, and I’d probably have to think about that 

more. I guess y’know… Y’know, I would say like my compassion and stuff, but I’m very much compassionate with my friends and other people in my life as well. I would probably say I repress some personality traits when teaching, more than heighten. I would repress, um, my goofiness a little bit, as to not rille the class up sometimes then. I repress my sarcasm a lot. Um, every now and again it’ll kind of slip out, and it’s kind of like knowing which students you can be sarcastic with and it’s not going to hurt them. Um, so yeah, that would probably have to take a more repressive feature on that. 

 

Ari – “Okay, so that is actually my next question, so that fits perfectly. Um, how much 

personal information, regarding children, spouses, hobbies, etcetera, do you choose to share with the students? And why you choose to share those, and does it have an impact on your relationship with your students?”(9.30)

 

Ms. Smith – “Yeah, so ,well… From the get go, everyone wanted to know if I was married. 

Which I was open and honest, y’know, no. I’m not married. Um, when I did get a boyfriend over Christmas, uh, one of my classes asked me about it and I shared it with them, y’know. It’s kind of like if they ask, I’ll share, but I would never go into ‘let me talk about all of my trauma going on with you’, or ‘difficulties I’m having in this relationship’, or y’know, getting into personal weed. Like very surface level. I want them to know that like… Y’know, ‘Hey! I have friends, I have a family, I have y’know, connections outside of school. Just like you do, right?’ Um, but I don’t need them knowing all of the ins and outs of my personal life, so I very much don’t share a lot of things in my life with my students. Um, if there’s a student that comes to me one on one that is dealing with something in particular–‘cause I feel like I’m a counselor a lot here too–there may be a moment where I’m like ‘Hey, y’know, I’m kind of going through something similar. Like, y’know, let me relate to you better’ and help them to be able to share with them some things, of course, lots of boundaries in place, in order to help them see light at the end of the tunnel, so to say, right? Um, it’s all about just… having boundaries and knowing for yourself like the walls that you need to put up to keep, again, a professional environment while maintaining, y’know, personal connections and being able to be open for students to… Again, just understand you and trust you. Know that, ‘Hey, they have my best interest at heart. They’re looking out for me, but they’re still human too’. So, it’s an interesting dynamic.”

 

Ari – “Another off topic question, do you think it’s ironic that you found a partner over 

Christmas? I didn’t know that you did that, but that’s kind of hilarious considering your book about (Ms. Smith and Ari laugh) Christmas.” [Ms. Smith has written a novel called “The Politics of Christmas” that is a romantic comedy]

 

Ms. Smith – “I know! It is, it is pretty ironic, um, unfortunately we broke up Thursday

 [At the time of recording].” 

 

Ari – “Oh, I’m so sorry!”

 

Ms. Smith – “Yeah, yeah, it’s been hard. Um, but y’know, there’s reasons for it and we’re

 living through it.” 

 

Ari – “Um, this has- this question is void; um, ‘has your teaching persona changed over 

time, and since you said you don’t really have a teaching persona, per say, has like your… ability… has like you repressing certain things (interruption from the intercom) and certain parts of your personality ever interfered with helping a student or class learn?”

 

Ms. Smith – “Um, I’d probably venture to say yes. Because when I have a set personality in 

place, though I am very flexible and very… y’know empathetic, and see from different points of views, um, I think that y’know, having a class of 27 kids, this is my biggest class right now, can be very challenging because you have (whispering) 27 different personalities that’s clashing with your own and clashing with each other. Um, so there can be times where y’know, where I like, I like a room with like low chatter and I’m fine with you talking as long as you’re on task and doing your work; but then I have a class where they’re all friends and have louder personalities, and so there’s a lot of like- there’s times when it gets overwhelming for me. Like, where I feel like just the loud environment will trigger my anxiety and it makes me want to flip out. But as the adult, and as the teacher in the room, I’m not allowed to do that, right? Um, a student can flip out on me, but I cannot flip out on a student, right? There’s that professional boundary there, that I have to maintain. Um, so, those can be impactful moments where I have to just step out of the classroom for a minute to regain my wits and my just patience, right? Um, and that, that can impact a lesson. That can impact, the trajectory of a class for sure. Doesn’t happen often, but it does happen on occasion.”

 

Ari – “I think I know which class you’re talking about, because my friends are in that

 class (Ms. Smith and Ari laugh).”

 

Ms. Smith – “Sixth hour?”

 

Ari – Yes. (Ms. Smith and Ari laugh again). It is only between me, you, and my Intro 

to Education teacher, so it’s fine (Ms. Smith hums in the affirmative). Um, have you ever had, like the person- we already, I think we already covered this as well like we’ve said in what you said, but have you ever had your personality slip while teaching a class? Was it for the better or for worse? Which you just covered saying that you had to step out of class.”

 

Ms. Smith – “Yeah, um, I definitely actually lost it on my ninth grade class a couple… Like 

last week. Was it last week? Yeah. Something like that. I yelled, and I don’t really yell. I’m not a person who likes to yell, or appreciates yelling. So obviously, that was for the worst. I mean, it got their attention as in y’know like ‘Hey, we need to stop what we’re doing’. But, I shouldn’t have done that, even though they were doing atrocious things. Um, and, you know, again, that reiterates that all teachers are humans. We all have a limit, every human has a limit, and once that limit is reached it is very hard to maintain self-control. But as a teacher, you have to fight that each and every day to not lose your cool on people” 

 

Ari – “I assume it’s like- (intercom interruption) I assume teaching them is like our past 

ninth grade teacher who, she retired last year, was trying to teach our class. Um, Not to get into too many details, but she was not a very good teacher. Um, and she could not handle the class so it was constantly loud and we hardly ever learned anything. The only thing I remember- I only remember three, no two things from that class because of how she was not able to take control of the students when it was necessary sometimes… Do you particularly like (intercom interruption) Do you like you’re teaching- the personality you put on while teaching? Or is it something you would rather just not do altogether?” 

 

Ms. Smith – “Hmm, yeah. I like it. I like who I am (Ari laughs a little). That sounds really 

cliche. Um, There’s always room for improvement. There’s always room for growth. Each- Each year, each new class that you get, presents its own set of challenges and you have to be adaptive. With first hour, I’m a little more quiet and lowkey with them. With second hour, that’s the class where I can jump in and be sarcastic with and goof off with, and still they get their work done. My freshman, I’m a bit more of an authority figure for them, because they’re just not adults yet (Ms. Smith laughs).”

 

Ari – “Freshman- A great majority of the freshmen I’ve met are very annoying.”

 

Ms. Smith – “Yeah, they’re very rough. Um, with you guy’s class, I can be just- that’s a time 

where I get to breathe. During your class. Um, because you guys work so well on your own, and you’re self-motivated, and I can give you a task and I trust that if you’re not understanding something, you’ll come ask me, and y’know, you guys work well together, so, your class is a breath of fresh air. Sixth hour, I have to be more on top of. They are motivated, they get their stuff done, but I have to constantly redirect that class back to focus. And seventh hour is my team taught, and I… I’m failing that class. Honestly. It’s hard. That’s my most difficult class. But, I’m have to be more strict with them, I can’t be as friendly with them. Because they’ll just take advantage of it. So, you gotta adjust and adapt.”

 

Ari – “Very sorry you have to deal with children who try to take advantage of you.”

 

Ms. Smith – “It’s human nature.” 

 

Ari – “Yeah, but it’s… bad human nature. The part that infuriates me and makes me not 

want to teach.”

 

Ms. Smith – “But you’ll learn to love it because a lot of those kids have so much going on. 

And then, if you can gain their trust and they start confiding in you, the relationship you can build with that student is phenomenal.

 

Ari – “That’s awesome. Um, that is all of the questions I have. You wanna say anything 

else to add or would you like to continue your lunch alone?”

 

Ms. Smith – “Good luck. Good luck teaching (Ms. Smith and Ari laugh)” 

 

(End Recording)

 

 

 

My Personal Code of Ethics

My values and morals come from a  strong sense of right and wrong as well as my upbringing. I did not go through a religion of any kind when I was a kid. My mother is christian, but she did not ever try to go to church with us or bring us along with her because she didn’t like the churches in our area, so I did not grow up with a religion in any sense. I actually disliked religion as a kid because I didn’t like the idea of a god killing people because they were mean when reading the book of fables that we had that held a version of Noah’s arc. I thought that if a god was just mean and killed thousands of people, he couldn’t possibly exist and that anyone who would worship someone like that were silly. I never spoke these ideas out loud as a kid, as I thought that everyone had those ideas, and I just went along with my life. Even as a little kid, I remember having this rigid sense of right and wrong that was hardly ever moved by anything. I didn’t have a lot of things on the “wrong” side because I was under 10 at this time and I didn’t know  a lot about the world, of course, but it was still firmly there. Now, as a 16 year old, I still hold a rigid sense of morals. As stated in previous papers, I likely am autistic and it ties into almost everything I do, morals included. Autistic people are more likely to have rigid morals that stay in place unless something big happens that changes them. In addition to that, according to NeuroClastic.com article, Autistic people are more likely to keep this moral rigidity in private and in public. Article linked here and down below if you’re interested, it is not completely relevant, so it will not be discussed much further. As I got older and learned about things such as the LGBTQ+ community, I realized that I stood for them and I was a part of them. There never was a time for me when I was not in support of all of the things I am today–like I said, my morals and ethics are very rigid in their–and I don’t think I was influenced to think any of these things, they just grew in complexity and knowledge as I learned more about the subjects, as I believe knowledge and support should as you get older.

One of the ethical statements I believe in and am a part of is that LGBTQ+ people exist and should be allowed to exist and be happy. Ever since I found out what being “gay” meant, I didn’t really understand why people were against it. Keep in mind, the only reason I found out about the LGBTQ+ community was because of YouTube originally when my favorite Minecraft YouTuber came out as gay, I was 12 and I was never exposed to these things before except in passing. Before this instance, I had a vague idea of what gay was as a concept, but I never really understood what it meant to be apart of the LGBTQ+ community or what it really was other than just something someone said they were. Since then, I have been in full support of every part of it (other than people who claim they are and very much are not (pedophiles for instance)). I found out I was Ace about a year later when I got a phone and downloaded tumblr. I found out what being Ace meant and I found out that I’m like that. That soon snowballed into me joining pride events whenever I could and being in outstanding support of the community, despite the faults in other people in the community. I think that it is important to support the LGBTQ+ community, and I know I absolutely would if I was cis and straight. It is just people loving each other and themselves, I do not understand how other people can view it as anything else. On an irrelevant note, the legalization that is being passed in this country is absolutely disgusting and I cannot wait until I can vote and do my part in stopping people from hurting others because of one person’s belief system. When I am a teacher, I want to be able to support others and make my classroom a safe place for anyone who may need it. That is my goal for being a teacher in addition to actually teaching English

Another Ethic I follow is that all POC are people and should be treated as such. I have already discussed previously, that I do my best to stand up and support those who are People of Color and I try to raise up those who are in that community because it simply is something that needs to be done. Again, I think that the current treatment of the People of color in the United States is incredibly disgusting and I want to do everything in my power to end racist people from hurting others. As I am a white person who has not had to deal with racial profiling or anything of the sort due to my race, I do not have a voice in this argument and I should not have a voice other than to lift up others who are POC. Nevertheless, when I am a teacher I want to be able to, again, provide a safe space for any and all of my students as well as make sure that my students are not getting bullied or mistreated by their peers or even other teachers. 

Another ethic I want to maintain to myself and my own personal standards is the fact that I believe that everyone should have bodily autonomy and be able to take charge of their own health and body and that everyone deserves a choice. I used to think that that was a normal thing, but with the recent legislation about Abortion and how many of our governmental leaders want to make it accessible for people with Uteruses to get, I have realized that it is, in fact, not. This one is not something I could necessarily use to help my students, but it is a standard of morality that I hold up for myself. I think that anyone who does not want to have a child and does not want to go through the trauma of childbirth should be able to take care of it and their own mental health and abilities. In addition to that, abortion in itself is a medical procedure, and taking it away in total will only kill more people whose fetuses are dead in them or are soon going to be dead and take the birth giver as well. As this is a much more political stance to take, I will not be discussing it further than what I have already said to explain my morals. As stated previously, this is absolutely something that I would not mention or talk about my views about because of both the political-ness it is as of late, and the fact that it would break the teacher’s codes of ethics to talk about my own political stances onto my students. 

The last ethic I will be talking about is kind of to wrap all of mine into a little box with a bow. I believe that, in most cases (as pointed out by one of my friends), anyone can do almost anything in their personal lives that will not hurt or endanger others, especially if it helps their own mental health. Things such as loving who you love despite gender/sex, being who you are, and taking measures to take care of yourself and own personal needs are included in that. I think that as long as it makes you happy and doesn’t hurt others, you should be able to pursue it. There are exceptions to this in my own personal morality, such as drugs is something I would never want anyone to do if I could stop it, but I realize that I will need to let people live and let live if I ever want to be truly happy with myself and my life. I think this is an important standard for teaching because if you were to care about every little thing your students are doing, especially if it doesn’t hurt anyone (including themselves) and it makes them happy, then your students would be miserable in your presence and you would be unable to help them if something more serious was happening because they would not trust you enough to go to you about things happening that is concerning.

In conclusion, I realize that not all of these standards are applicable to teaching, but the stances that are taken are important for me to uphold when I am teaching others. Being able to look through the world without the hatred that some people in the opposition of these ethics/morals is important to teaching people because you wouldn’t want your students to feel uncomfortable or be left out of things because of something they can’t change (race/sexuality), or feel scared because you being in opposition of their very existence threatens them. As stated previously, I want my classroom to be a place where students can be cared for and feel safe without threat of ridicule or fighting for any reason. Maintaining these standards are important to me because of this and I do not want to ever be in a position where I am unable to hold my personal standards when I have the option to while still following the guidelines of teachers set by the district. 

 

https://neuroclastic.com/autistic-people-care-too-much-research-says/ 

9.P My Teacher Persona

http://https://share.vidyard.com/watch/XW7ugRyNNASTRU8Fh7B4io?

Teacher Persona

I have learned a lot from this unit as a whole about personas and what a persona for a teacher must entail. I learned how we as teachers and future teachers must build our persona and work so that all students can benefit from it and how our persona can affect our students. Instead of thinking that personas are just something we do for the sake of acting professional, I learned that we do it to help others and it’s heightening our own personality traits as individuals and people as well as making it so we are able to be professional and not hurt the students or anyone else in our workspace and area. 

My teaching persona is something that I have been thinking about since before I started to take this class. I always knew that I wanted to be a more relaxed teacher and be able to do things to help my students by making it so I accept late work and am someone they won’t be afraid to ask questions to. This is because I want my students to not struggle with my class and be able to learn despite things like life happening and getting in the way. I also have a very hard time personally talking about my problems and what is going on in my life with teachers, so being able to have a safe space where students can ask questions and feel comfortable in, is my goal in life. My own teacher persona reflects that, I think. I have been trying to develop it so I can let loose some of my anxieties and my own hold on things so I can be this teacher when I’m older and have better education on the matter. I realize that I must be able to get better control of my emotions and how I handle things because of this goal, and I am doing my best to take steps towards that goal so I may be able to reach it and get the kind of classroom and learning environment I want my students to have.

Accomplished Teaching

Professionalism

Professionalism is important in all fields of work. It is what helps separate personal life from business ventures and is what allows people to be able to appropriately deal with things in a non emotional way. This is obviously a necessary skill, especially when there are important things on the line because of a job. Professionalism in fields such as lawyers or doctors is especially important because of the fact that personal values cannot be pushed into those professions in order to fulfill the job. In education, professionalism is important because it provides a safe environment for students to feel comfortable in and be able to both express themselves and excel in the learning environment. For teachers, professionalism is largely about respecting your students as people and respecting their opinions and ideas. It is also about being able to remain calm and create an environment where students are comfortable enough to ask questions. 

When it comes to my personal professionalism, I feel like I do have a bit of a ways to go. I tend to have a hard time controlling my emotions when I am overstimulated and in those cases, I shut down and struggle to deal with everyone, including people I am close with. I think that, with time and help from an appropriate person (such as a therapist) I would be able to excel my professionalism and be able to better control any meltdowns that I have due to being overstimulated. I do not want to create an environment for my students that is welcome to outside thought, views, and questions, so I know I need to be able to work on myself and my combative nature to be able to provide that. Being combative is actually one of the reasons why I want to be an English teacher, and that provides being able to promote deeper thinking of reading material and alike, so the students would be able to think critically about their viewpoints. So, I would say that all of my personas are not fully calibrated to each other because I view my professionalism as one persona all on its own. 

The roles that social media plays in professionalism is a very complicated one. On social media, being professional to others is incredibly important not only so you can get your voice out there, but also because potential employers can look at your email and get every single one of your accounts on social media that is connected to that email. For those reasons, making sure that you remain professional and treating people with basic respect is incredibly important. That importance is only multiplied when social media is apart of a job. On social media, it reflects directly back to you, so if it is apart of your job, making sure that staying professional on any social media account could be detrimental to the job.

Marshmallow Challenge

Marshmallow Challenge

My Critical Thinking

One time I used Critical Thinking was when I decided that I just couldn’t deal with someone in my life anymore. I had this ex-friend who was toxic and whom I hated to be around despite some of my other friends either just tolerating him or outwardly showing that they didn’t want to be friends but not cutting him off. I used critical thinking by analyzing the situation and thinking about my feelings about it as well as my friend’s and my own actions. I decided after some deliberation that I was going to distance myself from the toxic person in my life completely and I was going to stop hanging out with my friends when they were spending time with him. In the end, he blamed everyone around him for “hating” him and screamed at one of my best friends. That made almost all of us cut him off and refuse to talk to him at all. Critical Thinking helped me in this instance because I was able to separate myself from the situation without feeling incredibly guilty (something I have struggled with in the past) and am healthier as a person and a friend for it. 

Critical thinking skills can be applied to daily life because all critical thinking is analyzing a situation and thinking of the different options available and making it so you will be able to make the one best for yourself in that moment and in the long run. These skills can be hard to manage at first, but once someone is able to get in a groove, it would make it much easier. An example of how Critical Thinking could impact my life if I practiced using it on a daily basis would be to have a slightly better handle on my overwhelming emotions. If I am able to just stop my emotions from making me do something very drastic, I would be able to see more options than what it is initially available and control myself more as well as not hurting myself and other people emotionally with words said in the moment.

Interest Inventory Project

An asset-based approach activity for Lisa to grow her skills in writing as well as reading would be to have the tutor assist Lisa reading a short story about someone who plays basketball. This would reach into Lisa’s knowledge about the subject of basketball as well as help her understand the words better in context if the tutor pick a story with a more challenging vocabulary. This will make her far more confident in her reading skills because she already knows the names of things that would be frequently talked about in the story and picked from the knowledge that she already holds. After the tutor reads the story with her, they can have her write a short excerpt about either the plot or the main character(s) of the story to have her be able to practice writing about something she already have knowledge in as well as providing her with options to take her own learning in her hands. Writing a short excerpt about the plot will allow her to discuss basketball more and be able to use the words she knows in context to what she doesn’t and writing about the main character(s) would allow Lisa to be able to still use that context and herself to better understand the characters in the story and improve her reading skills. The tutor could push for more detail rather than length in general by, instead of having her write an excerpt on her own, have her answer question on the plot/character(s) so she would have to read the questions and would be able to answer them in a more condensed form rather than having an intimidating writing project. Questions such as “What position does (main character) play and what position is that useful for when playing basketball?” promotes reading comprehension as well as allowing Lisa to be able to talk in detail about something she’s interested in. It will have her be more confident in her abilities and provide lots of extra detail that will improve her detail taking abilities. 

Another way to improve her writing skills would be to opt for a similar approach using her enjoyment of movies. The tutor could have her watch a movie that she enjoys and do a similar thing to the previously stated reading assignment. The tutor could either have Lisa write a review of the movie using reasons to why she enjoyed it and the plot of the movie, or they could make a series of questions that would make it so Lisa can focus on certain aspects of the movie and write in detail about it. For this one, I would opt for the first rather than the second because it is more likely that Lisa would be better confident in her skills if she is allowed freedom to write how she wants rather than answering questions, which would have been better for the previous prompt. 

Instead of, or in addition to, these two options, the tutor could have Lisa write about a trip she would like to take–to Hawaii for example because she said she would like to go there one day. The tutor could prepare a budget option and give Lisa a list of activities and things in Hawaii that she would like to do, then prompt her to make a plan for what she wants to do while staying within the budget that the activity set. This would allow her to think about what she wants to do on her (hopeful) trip this summer, which would keep her engaged in the activity, as well as letting her do math to figure out the budget. This would be good for her reading/writing skills because she would not only need to describe what she would like to do as per the schedule/money she would like to set, but it also has her reading the options and thinking critically about them because there are limitations to what she can do in both time and money. 

Yet another way to incorporate reading and writing would be to have a hands-on activity where the tutor and Lisa bake chocolate chip cookies together. The tutor would find a chocolate chip cookie recipe and have Lisa help read out the instructions before they do the action it describes, as well as reading the measurements and everything else involved with baking. This would be good for Lisa’s reading skills because she would have to read the instructions of something she is familiar with–a recipe–but something new as well as having to read it correctly. Of course, the tutor would be on the side to help with anything Lisa needed in addition to prompting for the next instruction or measurement. This would help Lisa become evolved and excited for this activity because she both enjoys baking and everyone loves chocolate chip cookies. After this activity, you could have the option to have Lisa write a short paragraph about how she and the tutor made the chocolate chip cookies to promote the writing skill into the learning, but that is not required in order to make this activity a successful one for working on Lisa’s reading skills. 

The last activity that would be simple to manage for Lisa’s learning/improvement would be to involve her friend, Brittney. To do this, you could have Lisa do a few different things. One option would be to have Lisa write a short story of what she would do with her friend if they were able to have a sleepover (for example), which promotes her to think about doing fun things with her friend and enjoying talking about it. When people are able to write about things they like, it makes it much easier to go into detail about the activities. Another option to still include Brittney, would be to have Lisa narrate a conversation they had together from a third person objective. This would have her write about something that already happened (which could make it easier depending on what she struggles with) in addition to it being with someone that she already talks to on a day to day basis, so she could have many different prompts, It would be far more focused on Lisa’s writing compared to her reading, if the tutor decides to do these activities, but it would make Lisa able to talk about a subject that either excites her or something she’s very familiar with, which allows her to both write more and be able to write with causal language which she seems to not struggle with as much because it is like talking.

The Cultural Iceberg

I think a teacher could use the four skills of Cultural Competency in addition to the Cultural Iceberg as a way to determine the biases that they hold and fight against them so they aren’t favoring students over others. For example, a teacher can use the idea of the concept of Awareness to realize that not everyone is the same from the same culture and want to dive deeper into a certain student’s culture to be able to understand them better than just simply the surface level things. They might want to learn about the things on the lower level of the “iceberg” because they feel like it is important for that student’s culture. As I am in the great majority of “culture” (as a white person from America) I do not have a great example for this in my own personal iceberg. But a similar example would be if a student wanted to know how certain cultures/people can touch each other casually. Some cultures are very touchy upon close friendships or meetings, while others abstain from it as much as possible. Me personally, growing up in Alaska and my household, I typically shy away from any sort of touch unless it is from one of my most trusted friends or family members, which is something I grew up with not only because of general anxiety but because no one in my family really allowed other adults or people to touch them unless someone was specifically instructed to hug them. That’s just something I grew up with and it is an example of how a teacher might look deeper into cultural norms to see whether or not the student would be fine with touching without having to directly ask them. 

A teacher might use the Cultural Competency skill of Attitude in order to reveal their own implicit biases and not use them while teaching. As Awareness is a skill focusing on one’s beliefs and values based on differences in culture, learning about your own cultural and values would be a good way to remove and implicit biases as well as learning of other’s differences and embracing them instead of throwing them away as poppycock. An example of this from my iceberg (though not really because, after all, I don’t really have a culture to speak of–I just exist) is that one of my core beliefs is that even though all humans should be treated with basic respect (such as be spoken to normally or not be rude to a stranger), but actual respect of a human should be earned. This is not how it is in all–or even most–cultures. Such as in Chinese culture where sons of the family are expected to take care of their parents once they are old and have respect for them no matter what they do or what happens. As someone who is not in that culture, it might be a little difficult to understand that from a teaching perspective without properly learning about it, so I would likely develop that that is a “bad” practice because of my own beliefs. Being aware of your biases and why things in other cultures are the way that they are is a great way to combat this.

Knowledge is the Cultural Competency strategy of being able to understand the difference between different cultures and their similarities. This strategy is important for teachers to learn because of how it corresponds to the awareness of other cultures and not having yourself in prejudice when you are teaching. An example from my iceberg of things being similar but not quite the same is my beliefs that gods do exist even though I do not worship any and people who use pagan types of religion. People who are pagan typically hold belief in more than one god and they can go across pantheons, so we are similar in that regard. Being able to see that similarity can be very useful for teacher because you would be able to better understand someone’s culture when it’s at least sort of similar to your own and you would be able to better emphasize with them and their culture without having to go through the process of learning something totally new without any sort of familiarity.

Being able to use Cultural Competence to perfect communication is a crucial skill and tool (Skill) used by teachers in order to be able to teach their students without bias and with thoroug communication and understanding between their students without having to have any sort of negative feelings between you and your student.

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