Sunday, September 16, 2007

Educating Teachers?

Margie from the Thirdmom blog wrote an essay and republished it to the Anti-Racist Parent site and I thought it deserved to be passed on. It also reminded me (once again) how different adoptees can be and how different adoptive parents can be as well. The essay is about helping teachers understand adoption and adoption language.

I honestly don’t recall what my parents did. Truthfully, I’m not sure they did anything. My parents were pretty well known in the community and just about everyone knew that I was adopted. I was also one of a half dozen minorities in the school district so it wasn’t hard to pinpoint who was who. To tell you the truth, I haven’t decided what I’m going to do with my son either. I’m probably going to ask him what he wants me to do. I’m big on that…because I know how differently I reacted to things from how my sister reacted.

I broadcasted my adopted status to whoever would listen…teachers and fellow students alike. To me, it was like a “badge of honor” and it made me special. There are many essays out in the internet world about not making it the child’s responsibility to educate others about their adoption. I agree with that and I disagree with that. Once again, I think you have to know your child. I thrived on it. There were times that I got tired of answering the same questions and a little annoyed that people thought they had the right to the answers. I think that’s natural…but I liked having the answers.

Margie wrote, “One thing we DON’T want to do is give teachers the impression that individual children should be singled out for alternative assignments.” While I would have stood up and given a lecture about adoption, my sister would have been horrified. I also think she would have been upset if my parents had tried to educate her teachers. My sister’s goal was to be as much like everyone else as possible. She didn’t want to answer questions or be singled out. I think that she would have been horrified if she thought there was even the potential that her teacher was even thinking about adoption. It wasn’t really that my sister didn’t want to be adopted (she was fine with that part). She just didn’t want everyone to think about it first.

I liked this article, because it’s about being prepared. I think all parents (adoptive or not) should try to be prepared. A lot of times, people don’t think beyond the sweet babies that look at you and see the center of their universe. Sometimes, I think parents are too sensitive and I wonder who is more upset by an issue – the parent or the adoptee. However, I think that there is a healthy medium that can be followed.

I read these articles, essays, posts, etc… to remind myself that I have to think outside the box. It never would have occurred to me to educate a teacher because:

1. I never needed my parents to do it.
2. My sister would have rebelled.
3. Talk about family trees/histories never bothered me in school.
4. If I heard any negative references to adoption, they never registered.
5. Etc…

1 comment:

Third Mom said...

Hi, Mo, thanks for the shoutout. But oh, did I have an ah-ha moment about this yesterday, which came from a comment I received. I'm going to post about it.

It seems the more I think I know the less I actually do. It's just so, so complicated!