I'm baaaaaaack.

Hoarding All the Glitter Since 2001.

30 January 2011

no tiger beat cinema for tiger mothers

If you do not let your children try out for and perform in the school play, they commit suicide.  This leads to mass, Walt Whitman-inspired rebellion and Robin Williams getting fired.

That is my sum total response to the whole Yale-professor-child-rearing-by-suppression-rarrhr-tiger meme.

Actually, I hate the whole Competitive American Parenting drama, not only because I don't think competition is such a nifty thing but also because it feeds Compulsive American Blaming.

Your parenting is unlike mine, so you are a bad parent.  You, lady, work/don't work outside the home, so you are a bad mother.  You live in subsidized housing, so by definition you shouldn't have had any children because you can't afford them.  Our schools would be perfect if only we could get rid of all these bad teachers.  The problem with education today is that some kids don't have any respect.  This is because their parents didn't teach them and their teachers are useless.

This is deficit thinking, and deficit thinking hasn't gotten us very far.  We're so focused on what we think is going wrong (other people being bad, whatever bad may be) that we can't see what's working.  When you can only think about the negative, you're not going to be able to do anything positive; you see problems and your solutions are punitive.  Moreover, you're a real drag to be around.

Deficit thinking is self-limiting.  It assumes the worst about everyone.  It makes you suspicious, and that becomes prophecy: eventually, you're so unlikeable that they really all are out to get you.  And when all you can do is judge, you're certainly steamrolling over new ideas, divergent perspectives and new learning.

I actually work hard to assume best intentions.  This is easier for me with some groups (parents, children, etc.) than with others (District administrators, blame-unions-first Rethuglicans and reformers).  But it's worthwhile, and part of what makes me a good teacher is that I know what good teaching looks like - and that it can look very different from what I do.

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