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 Is it wrong to want to teach in a comfortable atmosphere? 
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Is it wrong to want to teach in an atmosphere in which you feel the most comfortable? or to those of the same cultural background as yourself?

To answer my own question, I would say no. I feel that I could best teach students who share similar cultural experiences as myself. While I know that this is not a situation that would promote ongoing change, I also do not feel that constant change, or cultural alteration, is always a good thing. Sometimes comfort goes a long way for both students and teacher. Perhaps not always pushing the envelope of change could lead to better understanding, by students and educator, of their immediate surroundings or community. I understand that this somewhat ignores aspects of globalization that our world depends so heavily on, but I also feel that culture can only be spread so thin before it is lost.

What do you guys think? Is it best to push the envelope, not rock the boat, or find a happy medium?

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Corey J. Tucker


Last edited by Corey Tucker on Thu Nov 13, 2008 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Nov 12, 2008 1:30 pm
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What a great topic! In class we are constantly talking about the push for changes, which in the cases we have addressed are good, but who is to say all change ends in good results? Also, we always see on television, stories of middle or upper class white women going into urban schools and changing the lives of black and Hispanic kids. While these are inspiring events, what about the black and Hispanic teachers who do a great job? We hardly even hear about those. I think teaching in a comfort zone depends on the teacher. Some teachers don't want to teach to students of their own culture, while others do. I think it is important to teach where ever you believe you can make the biggest difference in a child's life. Wheither it is in upperclass whites, rural areas, urban cities, etc.

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Jessica Placke


Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:29 pm
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I agree with both posts. I feel that since I would feel more comfortable teaching in my own cultural background I would then do the best possible rather than if I was to teach in a place where I wasn't comfortable and not as able to express my best teaching abilities properly. It's not that I don't want diversity I do want that, but not in huge amounts because I don't feel that me as a person is very capable of dealing with the many issues or events that might occur with many different diversities. Growing up I’ve never been exposed to differences in culture or ethnicity until I came to ASU, which many would say that this college isn't even that diverse. So with my prior background and experience I believe that I would be better equipped as a teacher to teach in a place that I would be most comfortable in. Although, I do think that it's incredibly wonderful and inspiring for those who truly want to be thrown into complete diverse areas in order to make a difference I just don't think I'm that prepared to take on too much in this case.

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Britini Leigh Murray


Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:48 pm
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I don't believe it is wrong to want to teach within your comfort level. That is what a lot of teachers want to do. I feel that there are teachers out there who want to stretch their limits and I think that is great. I, personally, would like to teach within my comfort level, but I know that will not always happen. There will be times when I am pushed beyond my comfort level and I hope I will be able to do well when that time comes!

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Brittany Norman


Wed Nov 12, 2008 10:42 pm
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I think that teacher comfort goes a long way in education. Teachers that are not comfortable in their surroundings are more likely to perform poorly, but with that said students can learn so much from teachers that are pushing the envelope. Teachers who can be in situations that are culturally different or any other difference and still perform well should do so. Teachers that do push the envelope are the ones that get stories written about them and put in to articles that we read in class. For some people being an education article can be great motivation to be a radical.


Thu Nov 13, 2008 9:12 am
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So here's the problem: The premise of this class is that regardless of where you teach, if you are to be a truly good teacher you will be "pushing the envelope" of your comfort zone everyday.

What do you think about that?

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Gayle Turner


Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:25 pm
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I think that "pushing the envelope" is different for each different idea to which it is applied. Pushing the envelope culturally may be much different and much more uncomfortable than pushing the envelope with higher level thinking skills and introducing your students to new things with which you may not even feel comfortable.

For instance, I don't know how well I would do teaching in an inner city school. My comfort level probably would not be very high because I have pretty much NO experience with these schools. This may hinder my teaching because I may feel that I do not know the best way to work with these students. I would still lack the same amount of "comfort" if I decided to open up a topic that could potentially cause some tension in the classroom. However, this kind of pushing of my own envelope is different because I don't feel that it would hinder my teaching skills.

Does that kind of make sense?

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~~Kari Tatum~~


Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:10 pm
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I agree totally with Kari and this is exactly what I mean by saying that "pushing the envelope" is not always conducive. Pushing the envelope of higher thinking is a different subject altogether. In that sense, constant change or improvement should be the main goal; but when considering culture constant change or alteration does not breed a productive atmosphere, in my opinion. Kari's example of teaching in a inner city school is the type of comfort that I am referring to. Nervousness or a lack of confidence can be an educator's worst enemy, and situations that are uncomfortable tend to go hand in hand with low confidence and nervousness.

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Corey J. Tucker


Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:58 pm
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I think that regardless of where we choose to teach all of us will be pushed beyond our expectations. Even if you choose to teach in an area/school that is very comfortable to you, there will be situations/students that you encounter that are very uncomfortable. It is how we react to these situations that will put great teachers above the rest. I don't think that teachers who are in "uncomfortable school settings" are any better/worse than teachers who teach the students that live next door to them and share common interests and beliefs. It does students a disservice if they have a teacher who is anxious about just being in a classroom with them. If inner city isn't something you've had experience with then starting teaching in a classroom with only one child that looks like people you went to school with would be overwhelming for both you as a teacher and the students. Kids are smart, they pick up on when adults are in nervous situations and that will just feed negatively into the classroom environment for everyone. Choosing where to teach has a lot to do about knowing yourself. If you know your comfort level will be higher you are more likely to be happier in that classroom setting and that will help your classroom environment become more positive. It is all about HOW teachers choose to teach and the way in which they handle themselves and any issues that may arise in their classroom that will distinguish the great teachers from the average.

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Katie Tyndall


Fri Nov 14, 2008 3:38 pm
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I agree that even in a (mostly) homogeneous cultural setting there will be students and events that will push the comfort zone of each teacher. No two students are exactly alike, and no student will be exactly like any teacher. I believe that whereever you teach you should infuse cultural awareness and diversity into your curriculum but I dont believe that this should always come at the expense of anyone's comfort 100% of the time. I believe that if teachers are comfortable, the students will sense this and in turn be more comfortable as well. This can also work oppositely. I believe very strongly in pushing the envelope with content and ideas, however, in a situation that teachers aren't comfortable with this can inhibit student learning and the overall classroom community that is integral in making the class a safe place for your students.

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Amanda Klinger


Sun Nov 16, 2008 7:23 pm
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I understand that we should push ourselves to teach outside of our comfort zone, but at the same time, I feel like I would be a much better teacher teaching somewhere where I am very comfortable. In this I am not saying that it would be out of the question for me to teach somewhere where I may not be so comfortable, I just feel as though if I am uncomforatble, it will show through me to my students. I want to move back home to the community that I grew up in (which is a small rural community with the elementary school having grades k-6) and teach there. I am very familiar with the area and "how it works", therefore I feel as though I would be able to "be a better teacher". On the otherhand, I'm sure I would be able to adjust to new situations if I was presented with the situation. Either way, I plan to be the best teacher I can possibly be in any situation I find myself in.

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Dana Currin


Sun Nov 16, 2008 8:11 pm
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I think it is fine to teach in a familiar atmosphere. Teaching is hard enough without having to get used to a new culture. Nevertheless, I do believe that we should have experiences with all types of people now, so we will at least be familiar with different backgrounds and have different experiences to draw from when we get in the field. For example, a girl I go to church with did a summer missions project in downtown Chicago, and since her trip, she has decided that she really would love to teach in an inner city school. So, I think we shouldn't rule out teaching in a particular kind of school without having experienced that kind of culture first.


Mon Nov 17, 2008 5:32 pm
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I think the point that Kari and Corey made earlier about "pushing the envelope" being a different subject in curriculum in the classroom and culturally are completely separate issues is very important in this discussion. It is important to find a happy medium when deciding where to teach for my career. I do not want to become so used to a community that I have spent all my life in that I feel like I see the same issues everyday that I have faced my whole life that I become numb to the needs the students face, and therefore become a less sensitive teacher. However, I highly agree that if I were too far out of my comfort zone and completely new to something and sort of lost, I would be less of a teacher because my main concern would be with my own efforts at fitting in and figuring out my new community. However, to "push the envelope" as far as academically and with higher level thinking, I will always be able to challenge students and have the same teaching style no matter where I am even if what I am teaching is not exactly my comfort zone.

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Alison K. Scott


Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:46 am
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