advice for teachers, whole child, identity, intersectionality, diversity, individuality, support, child-centered, chosen family, support
Nicole: I think what I would like to see is teachers seeing a kid not just as a kid but seeing it as a whole being and these different aspects to them. There are—there’s different facets of you, you’re not only, you know, I’m not only Nicole, but I’m also a butch, I am two-spirited, I’m older…
Nicole: Yah, that they understand the intersectionality of their students and that their students aren’t just, you know, these kids from these white privileged backgrounds, or that they understand different cultures too that are around the area and learn, like, if they’re going to a specific school, like Rose Avenue School is such a fabulous school, teachers before they go there, they’re told, you know, it’s not an all white school, you maybe have four white kids in the school and the rest are from Nepal, and from India, and from Sri Lanka and all over the place, so the teachers actually take it upon themselves—there are great teachers there- to educate themselves and a lot of them will go to pow-wows and go to alternative events to sort of get educated so that they don’t put their own ideology on these kids of what is a normal person and just be more open.
Mita: What I want teachers to know and look at is—I want them to look at each child as an individual, I want them to look at them through a lens that identifies not only their intersectionality, but variants of expressions of that intersectionality that they may be boisterous and rambunctious with what they have to say and who they are or they may be very, very shy and that needs to be coaxed out of them. That they may not be ready for um, sharing that with anybody, they may not be ready for being put in a spotlight. Um, let the child dictate what it is that they want, and in their own shaping of what kind of an adult do they want to be. How do they see themselves, and which are the factors that affect them in their formative process? What do they consider to be their guiding posts and their lights? Because not everybody sees their own families as their guiding posts. There are kids who want to have nothing to do with whatever their families represent in the universe and we end up with a lot of those kids coming as friends saying, “You know what I want to hang out with your family instead of mine because I come from an ultra orthodox structured family that doesn’t allow for freedom of thought or ideas and I can’t be myself in my own home so I’m just gonna hang out at your house because you let your kid do so much more than my parents ever would. And those kids end up gravitating towards the one kid that takes them under their wing and I think I want teachers to realise that some of those kids see their guidelines and their- who they want to be as completely outside their own familial units.