- How has your upbringing/schooling shaped how you “read the world?” What biases and lenses do you bring to the classroom? How might we unlearn / work against these biases?
- Which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered?
I come from a small Community an hour out of Regina. This type of community almost thrives off of biases and lenses. We all hear the sayings about how small town people don’t think outside of their bubble and only beleive what they have been told which has been passed on for generations, so it must be, right? I can most definitely say this is to an extent the case where I come from, but we also had a very multicultural community. For me, I grew up middle class, White, and Privileged. This already puts a bias on how I “read the world”. When you aren’t faced with the everyday struggle of not being privileged things can become a little foggy to how life is for other people. you forget that some people aren’t eating every day, or have to sleep on a floor in a friends house because they got kicked out. In my community, all these things were very real for the majority of my classmates and friends, but I was so blind to the fact almost like it was too hard for me to beleive it, so I just let it go. Looking back on this now it makes me wonder if I was blinded by my Privilege. If I would have taken the time to understand, evaluate, and try to develop a better understanding of these type of things would I still have these lenses on? I think in the classroom I still show a lot of my biases and that is something I work on every day. I grew up in a family where you work for what you want and only you can change how your life is going to play out. I still to this day hold that close to my heart. I beleive you do have to work hard for things, and nothing should be handed to you, but I also have to understand that sometimes that isn’t the case. I have to understand that sometimes someone that has nothing is trying harder than the people that have everything. I will always have that small town farmer way of thinking and I’m not going to be ashamed of that everyone has their own past and is brought up a different way. I think trying to change someone and their past isn’t always going to work nor should be tried to an extent. These lenses will be with me forever, no matter how hard I try I will always be a white, middle class, women that has an education and a good home life. All i can do is try to understand, re-evaluate, and break a new barrier down every time I step into the classroom.
Throughout school, I definitely had a different experience from a lot of other people. I grew up where the population is mostly indigenous people, so I learnt a lot of Indigenous education growing up. Coming into university I thought everyone learnt as much as I did. This was a huge shock coming into Univesity and realizing how little information some people had on this culture based on where they were from. I was taught in almost every subject, every day about Indigenous people and for this, I will forever be thankful. It had helped shape me, helped me understand, and mostly helped me connect with the people around me every day. One thing about my school that really stood out to me was how we had a Cree class offered for many years, but because of a lack of interest, it was discontinued. This is really hard to hear for me. We had the opportunity to learn another language that surrounds our community and for many students was there ancestors language, but because of lenses and biases on one took it. I think this is just one example of how Indngoeus culture is still being looked down on; even though so many of us try to deny it.