I knew the MAT@USC program would challenge my opinions, I just didn’t know when or what. Well it didn’t take long. During my first semester in my Social Context of Urban Schools class I was challenged to think differently than I had ever had to. There were uncomfortable moments, some where I left class irked, but at the end of it all I was enlightened. The purpose of this course had become clear to me….
I had come into this program with the idea that racism still exists, but only in certain places Teaching at a school that is not as diverse as most urban schools I believed that much of what we were reading and discussing was important, but did not necessarily apply to me as an educator. After reading a series of articles that looked at racism in less diverse populations, it became all too clear to me that my previous notions had been incorrect. When I had previously thought about racism I had always thought about it in a more out-in-the-open manner. In my mind racism was tangible. It was events that you could see or hear.
That view began to change throughout the course. Though racism can present itself in those ways, it does not always. Regardless of where you live or go to school, racism can manifest itself in various forms and attitudes. Teaching in a less diverse school, I must combat the attitudes of the dominant race. I can help make students aware of the problems that still exist and how they can work to change them. I can do this in different ways, many of which tie into the core curriculum. Coming to this realization did not happen overnight. It took a lot of reflection and input from classmates and professors to see how my previous thoughts had been wrong. I am certain this is not the last time a preconceived notion of mine will be challenged. That’s part of the reason I am in this program and I welcome that challenge with an open mind.