Moose Jaw is home to me, I spent all my entire schooling in one city between two different schools. I grew up in a white middle class family with two loving parents until they divorced and gave me the opportunity to have four loving parent figures in my life. Looking at my life now, I would consider having been very privileged in my upbringing.
As I went through my schooling I understand now that I was not exposed to a lot of diversity growing up. The students I started learning with in grade one was the vast majority of the students I graduated with in grade eight. We were considered a community school, but as far as I was aware, most of my classmates came from a white, middle-class family as well just like myself. All of my teaches were white, and in elementary all but one were females. As I started high school, I was able to notice more diversity with the students in my classes, coming form different homes and having different backgrounds, however there were still only white, majority females that were my teachers.
Throughout my learnings in school, we started talking about First Nations and Aboriginal culture in about grade four, but we never got into the depth of what really happened until about grade nine and ten. That is a long time to be taught strictly the European way on living. Although we may not have been the most diverse class you might have seen, I still believe that it is almost more important to discuss and talk about the good and bad about many different cultures. I also recently discovered that the majority of the books that I read in elementary and in high school, I could picture it being my life. They were stories that could resemble my own life and how I grew up. Many of these ideas I did not see until I started university, and I only now realize that there were so many ideas I was taught in school that were ‘single stories’.
As teachers we can use our power and position to try and reverse these biases that people may have. We should be teaching our students that there are more than just ‘single stories’ within our world, there are so many different views and perspectives that we should share with them. The classrooms I am see now are way more diverse that what I grew up with, so I think that being more aware of the book and resources we bring into the classroom is a great way to start working against these biases. Tying to make sure that all students can see themselves being represented within the classroom is our goal. I still believe that I personally have a long way to go to unlearn some of the ‘single stories’ that I have been taught in school, but I am prepared and excited to continue to grow and change my view on life and the world around me.