Monday, June 23, 2014

How we sometimes #judge in #education

Working in education is a privilege, especially if you take a global view on how different cultures treat education and educators. We are being trusted to help shape the next generation of learners, whether K12 or Higher Education, and that is a big responsibility.

However, educators are human and succumb to the same human fallacies as everyone else; we are not superheroes (although we try to be for our students).

As an educator, I have earned the right to criticize my profession on occasion, but know my criticism more often than not comes with a solution or is in search of a solution.

 Sometimes in education we can be needless cruel to each other; there I said it. We can be judgmental, heavily critical, and downright mean to people we work with and serve. We develop “cliques” and “factions” within our workplaces where cruel rumors and stories can spread and thrive. We have all seen some version of this, and it is time we take a good look at ourselves if we want to better ourselves.

Case in point:  

“Too Fat to Be a Scientist?”

“I have long dreamed of becoming a scientist, but now—just weeks after receiving my B.A. in biology from a prestigious university—I’ve decided to leave science behind. I am rejecting a career in science, or rather, science is rejecting me, because much like oil and water, being fat and being a scientist don’t mix.”

“I’ve experienced discrimination based on my size. A few years ago, I interviewed for a student-researcher position in a prestigious lab. I was intimidated going in—the professor in charge was ruthless in her work and her personal interactions—but her project was exciting, and my résumé was strong, so I gave it a shot. The beginning of the interview seemed normal enough; we discussed my previous experience and what I’d like to do in the lab. But as we began to talk about the lab’s culture, our conversation took an ugly turn.”

“She told me that her team did a lot of collaborative work in this lab, and she didn’t need someone who was going to “eat more than their fair share of the pizza, if you know what I mean.””

“I didn’t know how to respond. I offered a weak smile and said I didn’t really know what she meant.”

“She looked up abruptly (she had been staring at my stomach) and said,  “I think we’re done here.” I sent her three follow-up e-mails, but she never wrote back.”

Read it all here:
Educators, we should be better than this! We should be setting a great example, not participating in the cruelty. I thank the author for her bravery in sharing her story; and we all have some kind of story to tell.

I look forward to hearing positive stories, because education should be positive.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

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