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Week 8 Thank You!

I want to take some time out to extend a personal thank you to everyone in this course, but particularly those whom I have had the pleasure of sharing discussion and blog groups with. Some topics that we have discussed the passed 8 weeks have caused us to think about some tough issues, and in turn we found the courage to share them with each other. THANK YOU all for allowing yourselves to be vulnerable enough to open up to us, your colleagues, in an effort to better understand communication and what it means to build and sustain meaningful professional relationships. It has been a difficult journey for me in particular, but I am hoping it was all worth it. I enjoyed reading the opinions and experiences of everyone, and I think that this is a great group of professionals with a very wide range of knowledge, experiences and capabilities. I know we will all accomplish great things in the future! Good luck to all of us!

 

Jada

Week 6

In contemplating the groups that I have been a part of over the years, the one I had the hardest time leaving was my partnership with my last co-teacher. I say this because we entered into the two year old classroom not knowing each other, and after her co-teacher for some years had been let go. It was a difficult situation because it was unexpected across the border. Because of the circumstances, Terionne was not very receptive or open to me as a co-teacher. It took time for us to build a relationship, and even more time for us to begin to collaborate effectively in the room. After a few months of working together, we began feeding off of each other without realizing it. Our work began to compliment each other’s and we soon had a routine down pat, even a friendship. We still hit hurdles along the way (creative differences), but we were able to work through them and come up with strategies that recognized both of our efforts. Not to toot our horn, but we had our classroom rocking. Being taken from the classroom with her shook up the entire center, and we still get questions to this day about it, even though it has been almost a month. Although we did not have a traditional adjourning phase, we had the one last day to enjoy our room together before parting ways, and quite frankly, it sucked. It was hard to leave and environment we built from the ground up, especially considering the circumstances under which it happened. However, because of the work we put it, we did build a genuine friendship and for that, I am grateful.

I wish we would have been able to better prepare ourselves, our parents, and of course our students for the sudden change. I think a going away party would have been fun and would have put a pleasant spin on an unsavory situation. I can only imagine that it would have cut a lot of questions out, because it would have put a positive spin on things. I think that leaving this group of peers I am pursuing this master’s degree ith will be bittersweet like most partings are. However, I know that us parting ways will mean that we ultimately accomplished what we set out to do when we began this journey together, and so that is one ending I am definitely looking forward to. I believe that adjourning is essential to teamwork because it offers an opportunity to recap the most important aspects of the journey you took as a team. Even if the result was less than satisfactory, it offers an opportunity to look at where things went wrong and come up with ways to avoid that outcome in the future. It is always important to look back on your work when it is complete in order to internalize the growth that occurred in the process, even if you feel it was minimal.

 

 

Week 5

This assignment will be an easy because I am currently in the process of a major disagreement/ conflict with a coworker. As we all know being in this field, it is easy to bump heads and disagree about what is appropriate behavior regarding children. Those differences of opinion are sometimes blown out of proportion and result in negative situations. I will not go into detail about the disagreement, because it is a touchy subject and quite frankly, will be too long to discuss via blog. However, the situation resulted in both parties preferring not to be around or work with one another any longer. The plot twist, is that we were put together to work in the same room; the infant/toddler room, where communication is absolutely vital.

This week has made me look at this situation in a more objective view, and reading our text has pointed out two very important concepts that I need to carry into work with me in order to resolve this conflict once and for all.

The first concept I need to implement is forgiveness. It is not easy to forgive someone in general, but it is even harder when 1.) they were wrong and 2.) they do not apologize. However, forgiveness is not done for others, it is a personal thing and I need to let go of the situation and move on from it. The second concept has to do with having a cooperative mindset. Seeing as we both work in the same class, and seeing as we both would rather not; it is important to remember that she is struggling with this just as much as I am. Therefore, in order to move forward, we have to work to make both of us feel comfortable in our workspace. That means collaborating together regarding ideas and decisions of the classroom as well as compromising when we do not see eye to eye. Conflict and conflict resolution are not easy, but these assignments have helped me to see my situation more objectively, and that is a major plus.

 

Week 4

Considering the tests I took about communication, as well as the scores that I received from my sister and my friend, the biggest surprise was that my friend Brittany thinks that I do not have any communication anxiety. This means that she assumes that I am comfortable with public speaking and interacting with people I barely know. Those two things, I am not comfortable with and actually have some deep rooted insecurities with.

I also realized that although I scored moderate on the verbal aggression scale, even with my sister and my friend, their scores were both higher than my own, and for that reason I fell like I need to take care to choose my words and approach to people better. I also think That as far as listening goes, I should refrain from focusing so much on keeping time during my conversations and interactions with others and just focus on being present during the interactions. I think that improving in both of these areas will help in both my professional and personal life by making me more personable and easy to approach and talk to. That will make the communication road a bit smoother between me and others and can only improve my relationships.

Week 3

Reflecting on past interactions with people of different cultures, I realize that I do communicate with people differently based on their culture or group. I may adjust my tone, avoid using my vernacular, switch up my body language, avoid or add certain nonverbal cues, and definitely avoid or touch on certain topics of discussion. However, I do not see this as a negative thing. Especially if I am unsure of what is acceptable to someone, or if our relationship/setting is relaxed or professional, I feel like I adjust to fit the situation.

When I am with friends. I am myself regardless of what group of friends I am around, because I am me, and we are friends because of that fact, so I do not feel the need to alter myself for them. If I am around colleagues, There is a level of comfort between certain ones, so depending on who I am surrounded by, I may avoid certain topics, and use more appropriate or professional language. The same when I am around different races. Especially these days, it is so easy to offend someone, that I find myself being almost silent when I am around an ethnicity or religion I do not know much about. In order to communicate with others who may be different from me, I can try to:

1.) Be more present and open when listening and observing during interactions to internalize verbal and nonverbal cues.

2.) Be more willing to openly share information about myself in order to allow others to get to know me.

3.) Begin to treat people how I perceive they want to be treated, and if I am wrong, seek to understand why, and adjust my behavior.

4.) Not be so quick to assume that everything will result in negative feedback, be more relaxed in new situations.

 

 

Week 2

For this assignment I chose to watch an episode of Modern Family on mute, and then re-watch with the sound playing.

Watching the show with no sound, I pick up on a lot of aggressive body language. There was a lot of head turning, storming out, hands thrown up with what seems to be exasperation, eye-rolling, and what seems to be arguing. Based on this, I would assume, the relationships are not very good.

The Dunphy’s, especially the kids, seems to always be in a fuss, and the mom engages in a lot of eye and neck rolling, which I interpret as negative as well. The dad kept a pretty pleasant face, but it looked a bit clueless as well.

Cam and Mitchell seemed to tell a different tale. Mitchell’s face is more stern than Cam’s however, Cam’s bodily language is more animated than Mitchell’s. This makes me think that Cam is constantly trying to engage with Mitchell or get on his good side.

The Pritchett’s seem to be very animated, especially Gloria. I noticed that the veins in Gloria’s neck protruded a lot, which definitely indicated yelling. However, her husband’s body language never seemed to match her intensity.

When I watched the episode back with the volume on, I was not too far off from what I thought. The Dunphy’s were very much so at each other’s necks fairly often, especially the two daughters. The mother often fussed at the dad, who tried to make light out a situation, or was just oblivious to the issue the wife had, which explains his clueless face.

Cam and Mitchell were pretty hilarious. Since Mitchell is Claire’s brother, their mannerisms are very similar and Mitchell was uptight with Cam, while Cam was very flamboyant, and lighthearted about things. However, in some cases when I though Mitchell was fussing, he was more or less whining, so my judgement was way off.

The Pritchett’s were funny as well. Gloria is just very high strung, and the strain I saw in her neck was also not always a fuss, but a whine, or plea, or just over animated talk. Their interactions were hilarious and the body language was very different from the verbal.

I think knowing the nature of a show would have made my account more accurate, however, I think I did fairly well at reading the non-verbal languages presented. I also will start watching the show because it was hilarious.

Week 1

A person that I applaud for communication skills is one of my bosses, Kimberley. Kim showcases her skills mostly during staff meetings. Of course we all have different opinions and views on things, and meetings can sometimes become touchy when we are not being as receptive as we should be. However, Kim has a way of allowing everyone time to express themselves, but then turning it around and helping us understand where the others are coming from. She does this mostly using real life scenarios, and causing us to put ourselves in a different position, even if just mentally. This way our meetings end up with more laughs than arguments because she helps us to see a different side of things, and it really keeps us all close and on the same track.

I can’t say that I would want to model any of my communication skills to her, because I am learning some skills from her! I can’t teach the master! LOL

Week 8: Professional Hopes and Goals

One hope I have in regards to working with children and families from diverse backgrounds is that I am always able to meet their specific needs and expectations because I know that makes the world of difference when you entrust your child to someone daily.

One goal that I want to see the early childhood field reach, regarding equity in particular, is to allow access to quality early education centers to all children of all backgrounds regardless of any circumstances. I want our field to find ways to increase the pay for early educators in order to push for better qualified teachers so that the quality levels of all early educations institutions would rise. I just want all children to be exposed to quality care and education as early as possible.

I would like to thank everyone for providing such thought provoking responses to the topics covered over the last eight weeks. I also want to thank everyone who read and responded to my thoughts and opinions. It is always a pleasure to engage in educated conversation with those of similar interest and passions. I have enjoyed this journey, and wish all of us successful completion of this program and success in all of our career endeavors!

Jada Smith

Week 7: Welcoming Families From Around The World

Malaysia will be the home country of the new family I am welcoming.

I think it would interesting to host a family from Malaysia in my classroom. I have read up on the country and I have learned that they like a lot of different sports. One thing I would do to be responsive and make them feel at home here in their new country, would be to form a list of activities they can check out to enroll their child in in order to engage in more interaction with Americans for both child and parent. I would find nearby child martial art classes as well as a little football league; and maybe even some country clubs where the parents may be interested in going to play tennis or relax after stressful days.

Since Malaysia allows free practice of religion, I would find out which religion the family observes and ensure them that I would support the conditions and guidelines of said religion in my classroom, and that they would be welcome to share any information or come into the class during any holiday to teach the children, as well as me more about it.

The educational system is different in Malaysia and so I would ask the parents how they felt about our educational system, explaining anything they needed clarification on, and getting their opinions on how to best approach the major change they would experience. I would ensure them that as the foundation of their child’s educational career, we would always be here if ever they needed to contact us down the line for any advice or to point them in the direction of quality schooling. I think it is so important to show support in the educational aspect of a families life; even the parents may want to pursue higher education.

The fact that English is the official second language in Malaysia would offer me a little bit of comfort in the situation because there is a good chance that I would be able to effectively communicate, quicker, with the parents. However, their knowledge of another language offers another learning experience for the kids and I to partake in, and another opportunity for the parents to spend time in the center, with their child, showing us how great it is to learn new things about people who appear to be different from us, and realize that beneath it all we are all the same.

Last, and certainly not least, I would invite them to help plan and participate in a welcoming “party” within our classroom that would feature music of their choice, as well as food from their home cuisine. I would offer to try and make a dish or two, and also to decorate with careful instruction of them. This way we all get a taste of Malaysia, hopefully the family will be welcome, and we all know a party gets children excited about any and everything, and I would definitely want them to be excited about welcoming a new friend into the room, and I think it will help add even more positivity to the situation.

I hope that all of these efforts would help the children be open and warm with the new child, I hope that the new child would be excited to begin school and excited and proud to share so much new and unique information about themselves and their family. I also hope that all of these efforts would make the parents comfortable enough to be open with me so I can gain knowledge of them and their culture, that would be an amazing experience.

Week 6: The Personal Side of Bias, Prejudice and Oppression.

I recently witnessed, what I considered to be, a very disturbing occurrence of bias, prejudice and what could more than likely be considered oppression as well. It occurred on Facebook (shocking) and it happened to the younger sister of a friend of mine.

On facebook one day, Whitney decided to screenshot a conversation she had begun under a guy’s post whom she had attended highschool with. The boy was white, and had posted a “meme” that talked about how black girls are so angry about just everything under the sun (I cannot remember specifics). Whitney, a black girl, decided to leave her opinion that the meme was distasteful because it is not factual and women of any race, or a person of any gender can prove to be angry for any variety of reasons. After her response, things spiraled out of control. The guy who initially posted the meme, someone who Whitney thought was a “friend”, came back with off the wall remarks about how a high percentage of black women (he literally said 98.9%) are like this and it makes no sense to argue. He had friends of his (all white males) join him in ridiculing her, and a few of her friends stepped in, not really to defend her, but just to tell her that this is how these guys are, and it makes no sense to argue with them.

It was not fair to for them to assume this of black women, and it definitely was not fair for them to disregard the opinion of an actual black young lady, who does not embody that opinion, and even within the heat of the moment did not exhibit the characteristics they blamed (us) of. I believe that these young boys do not even encounter black women often, they more than likely only see what is displayed on tv, and that is unfair.

When I read these comments it made my stomach turn. I initially felt bad for Whitney that she had to experience this, and from people she thought were her friends. It confused how they could even pretend to like her and be friendly with her, when these are the thoughts and opinions they harbor. It sickened me that these were their innermost thoughts. It appalled me that they were bold enough to put it on social media, and clearly meant it enough to defend it. Clearly, this incident sent me through an array of different, no good, emotions. In the end, it really hurt that this is how black women are viewed when many of us are not like that. It hurt to know that many black women are angry because of what they have to go through everyday, but no one sees those struggles, they just see the anger.

I think that a lot would have to change in order to change this incident around and offer everyone a chance to be heard and allow their opinions to be considered, sincerely. Firstly, the guy who posted the derogatory post would have to be willing to see his fault in the situation and accept that although it may have been his opinion, it was offensive to black women as a whole. Next, he should be able to state why he felt this way and maybe if he had a solid foundation to stand on, Whitney could have been able to say, well I understand why you may feel that way, but just know that not all black women are like that, and that it is ignorant to group all because of the behavior of some. Next, his friends should have refrained from joining in a negative banter, and maybe held their opinions, or suggested to their friend that facebook is not the place to display those opinions when his friends vary. Equity is a hard topic, and very touchy. It takes a level of care to alter equity and if that is not present, I am not sure it can be changed.