The chapter opens with the author, a middle-class white heterosexual male, describing an experience as the facilitator for a college-level Diversity course, and how he learned something from his students on the very first day of class.
- Read the students' responses to Michie's discussion on Page 11:
- Do you agree or identify more with the last quote by 'Sherelle' or with the last quote by 'Jenny'?
Michie then describes how the course had diverged from 'multicultural education,' or celebrating the vast diversity of cultures and their contributions to American society, to something very different due to tensions that such a focus had caused previously. He also shares his observations and experiences with increased nationalism following 9/11.
The author continues to discuss a couple more activities and describes why he teaches the class: to help students develop their own personal philosophies of education, and how student diversity and equity both play into it. 'Ryan' sums it up best: "I can't believe how much I don't know." (p. 16)
Next, Michie describes how the same emotionally-volatile lesson given to two classes resulted in very different outcomes. He explains, on page 19, that "One of the wonderful, and maddening, things about teaching is that you never know in advance what impact your work will have - or if it will have any at all."
The author ends the chapter discussing educational philosophy and reform. He closes the chapter with very eloquent words:
"What matters is helping aspiring teachers begin to see schools as arenas of struggle and to see themselves as people who can bring about change... that there's no such thing as a neutral classroom, that teaching, but its very nature, is a political act." (page 21)
That makes me think of the old Nike commercial with Charles Barkley, below:
- Is your philosophy and your classroom more in line with Michie or with Nike and Sir Charles?
- What can you do to move a little farther along in that chosen direction?