Yearning to Belong to the Teaching Community

Nadia is an occasional teacher in GTA mostly teaching primary level; whenever she goes to school ‘A’ she receives a warm welcome from students, whether it is her first time in that class or if she is returning the third time. Majority of the students in that school belong to the same ethnic background as hers. Some students identifying with her ethnic background would ask her if she was from India and hearing her answer in affirmation would remark, “My mother is from India too”, “or I was born in India”. Some others identifying her being a Muslim would ask, “Can I say ‘salaam’ to you?”

In short Nadia feels welcome in that school by the students; however, mingling with teachers is another story.  Although, some might occasionally involve in some small talk, such as “oh how was your day today?” or “which grade were you supply teaching today”, she mostly feels invisible in the staffroom. Her greetings were returned with cold replies and the teachers sitting next to her would engage in conversation with colleagues across the table. Nadia wanted to connect; she wanted to learn from their experiences.  This is one of the three schools that she visits often and now recognizes many faces; but she fails to see a glimmer of recognition in their eyes in exchange. Nadia feels so unwelcome in the staffroom that she now prefers sitting in her car during lunchtime.

To learn more about this scenario, including the author’s own response, please attend the Intersections of Diverse Teachers and Diverse Learners at CSSE 2013, or stay tuned to the DiT website because we will be posting those details in the near future.

Until then, please leave a comment so that we can read your responses to this scenario. Here are some questions to consider interacting with each other and the author (Syeda Rufeeda Bukhari, from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, at the University of Toronto) about:

  1. What should Nadia do in order satisfy her yearning to belong to the teaching community?
  2. What is she doing wrong?
  3. How can she correct it?



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