My experiences as a teacher, student, and co-facilitator of critical dialogue among men arrested for using violence against women tell me teachers who feel entitled to compliance from students share fundamental beliefs with men who feel entitled to compliance from women and with white people who feel entitled to compliance from people of color and indigenous people. White supremacy entitles white people to dominance, patriarchy entitles men to it, and teacher preeminence entitles teachers. Teacher preeminence resembles white supremacy and patriarchy in four habits of mind: obliviousness, denial, ignorance, and smugness. Doing autoethnography – understanding cultural experience by analyzing personal experience – creates opportunities to problematize teacher preeminence while challenging dominant epistemological notions of what and whose knowledge is of most worth: my intention was not to affect objectivity or authoritativeness; it was to practice rigorous subjectivity. My inquiry – conducted by reading personal essays I wrote between 1991 and 2017 and considering them on their own, cumulatively, and in relation to Chapter 2 theory about white supremacy, patriarchy, and teacher preeminence – confirmed I have enacted white supremacy since I was very young. It exposed that I have done it far more subconsciously and constantly than I realized, which leads me to believe I have also relied on entitlements to dominance as a teacher – I have often believed I am teaching from a place of openness when I am really just seeking compliance and trying to enforce it despite sincerely opposing dominance as a teachers’ entitlement. It also suggested most other teachers would find a lot they don’t want to see if they interrogate their methods and intentions for evidence of entitlements that allow us all — that often require us — to think about and treat students almost exclusively according to whether or not they comply with what we want.
University of Minnesota D.Ed. dissertation.November 2017. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Lynn Brice. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 243 pages.
Making a Big Deal out of Nothing: White Supremacy, Patriarchy, and Teacher Preeminence.
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