Having discussed everyone's project ideas, I began to gravitate more towards a project related to my major - Education. It was not until it was brought up by my fellow classmates that I remembered a class I took a few semesters ago related to diversity within the classroom. I learned a countless amount of information regarding why teachers should educate themselves on the varying races within their class.
The main thing that I remember about this diversity course was one example. My professor explained that many cultures find it disrespectful to look authoritative figures in the eye. In America, it is a sign of respect to look them in the eye. As a result, many teachers will find it disrespectful if students do not make eye contact with them because they do not understand their culture. It is an incredibly challenging and daunting task to ask every teacher to learn about their students' background when they already have so much on their plate, but there are very easy ways to go about doing this. You could have a day in the class dedicated to sharing about your background or send home an appropriate questionnaire for parents to fill out regarding preferences for their child and information about their child.
The reason I have such a connection to this topic is not just because I am on the track to becoming a teacher or because I took one class on the subject of diversity, but because during my student teaching I was in a classroom that was a melting pot of students. There was a mix of Caucasians, Asians, African Americans, Indian, and Hispanic students. Majority of the students in this school system are either Caucasian or Hispanic. Many Spanish-speaking families spoke only minimal English and having taken several years of Spanish in school, I was asked by my cooperating teacher to write letters home to those parents. During parent-teacher conferences, the ELL teacher within the school did not make it in. As a result, everyone was scrambling to find qualified Spanish-speakers to translate their conferences with those families of limited English. The Spanish I know is on the more basic end of the spectrum; therefore, I was not experienced enough to serve as a translator. But this situation was what inspired me to continue my education in Spanish. I always wanted to learn Spanish as a second language, but this motivated me even more.
Now that I have explained why teachers should educate themselves on the races in the classroom and my personal association with the topic, it is time to briefly discuss my project proposal. Unfortunately, many teachers are still very ignorant when it comes to accepting the diversity within the classroom. For that reason, I would like to do something where I interview several teachers, parents, administrators, and professors about why they think teachers should familiarize themselves with their students background.
I am not too sure how I want to put it all together yet or what I want the end result to be but I am hoping after some class discussions, I will be able to come up with something creative and unique.