This week in class we had a very rich discussion about what it truly means to be a “good” student under what we believe as the common sense of the public school system, and who these people are. This topic is one that is of very much importance to me, since the topic of race and racism embedded into our curriculum has always interested me. Our discussion on how the idea of a good student has changed over time was also interesting. Back one hundred years ago, this ideal student was very easily stated to be those of an Anglo-Saxon heritage that were literate and male, while the unfavoured student were those that could not be “Canadianized,” which I absolutely hated to hear.
According to our reading from this week, it is also evident that the good student in terms of the common sense is the student that always listens, responds, and does not cause a problem for anyone else, and essentially, never gets to speak their mind. I see this as a problem since growing up, I also knew many students that may have acted the way that the “problematic” child of this reading was described, as well as the fact that I have worked with students myself that are this way, and in no means could I ever say that these children were not good students who didn’t or couldn’t learn, since that is simply untrue.
When Kumashiro stated that. “I assumed that being a student required behaving and thinking in only certain ways, but also because I felt pressure from schools and society to produce this type of student.” (Kumashiro, pg 21), I immediately had certain students that I grew up with or I have taught myself come to mind. I had one student last semester in a Kindergarten room that displayed a lot of the same behaviour characteristics as the student described in the article, and personally, although these students can be hard to handle, they have always been the ones I turn out to really enjoy simply because of these characteristics – they are just being their true selves, and although that may not fit the mold of our school systems and what they expect from students, they still find a way.
As future teachers we must always be prepared for these types of situations in our classrooms, since it is not that uncommon. We must make sure to look past the tightly fit idea of the “perfect” student, since this simply doesn’t exist. We must learn to work with all our students and learn their strengths and weaknesses, and always help them succeed.