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African American Interview

What background information would have been helpful prior to your student teaching experience?

    Perhaps information that is not only specific to culture, but also to the region and school district. General information about particular ethnic groups, while sometimes of benefit, can lead to the perpetuation and creation of stereotypes. This information wuold be best if it could be assertained from the district a student teacher is entering. (KA)

Were there any behaviors, specific to the culture, that are different from your own (i.e. eye contact, gestures, etc.)?

    There was a greater level of verbal confrontation from African American and Latino [female] students than I had anticipated. However, this might have been a gender issue as well as a cultural/ethnic manifestation. (KA)

Did you find things that could be considered culturally inappropriate?

    No. Not in terms of culture or ethnic issues. There was not enough time to make such judgements. (KA)

Do you think that student teaching at a predominantly African American site helped prepare you for future teaching assignments? If so, how?

    Yes. Growing up in a white community limited my experiences. Any exposure to new experiences will be of benefir to my personal and professional life. (KA)

    I feel working with a culture different from your own is a good preparation to work with other cultures. Student teaching helped prepare me, in that I incorporated each individual culture into my lessons as often as possible. It also helped me by allowing me to view different teaching styles and a variety of teaching materials! (AM)

What is missing? Please include any other information that might assist a person preparing to teach at a similar site.

    Try not to step into the student teaching experience with harmful or limiting stereotypes. Base opinion on fact and information that can be attained from a reliable source.

    Do not go in with a "save the world" attitude. That lessens the students’ position in the student/teacher relationship and artificially inflates your own [position] as a superior. You will learn as much (perhaps more) than the students will learn from you. (KA)