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The Hidden Curriculum

The first year is done and so, in my effort to procrastinate on working on the dreaded certification exam that we have been hearing contradictory information about all year (the exam is required for first year doctoral students in my program to determine if we get to stay), I thought I would take some time to reflect on the other kind of learning that has happened this year.

This is the learning that is not within the curriculum. It is not what is necessarily intentionally taught but is the growth that happens alongside the theories and articles and papers and statistics that we learn in the classroom. In education, we call this the hidden curriculum, which usually refers to the ways in which children are socialized to learn their "place" in society, such as along class lines. Making children walk the halls in quiet, orderly lines, emphasizing Standard English over student dialects are ways in which the hidden curriculum silently, subtly, teaches children what society demand…
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Critical Wisdom

The Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College has a reputation for being difficult, especially at the doctoral level. It isn’t difficult in the way my advanced data analysis class is difficult, where we are expected to learn complex statistical concepts while also learning how to code in the dreaded Stata software. Instead, it is impossibly abstract and theoretical, with most classes requiring us to write papers where we construct complex arguments supported by plenty of other people’s theoretical musings. These frameworks challenge us at our very core, a process that is fraught with emotional ups and downs, so much so that a professor in the department has called the program as a “Pedagogy of Monsters” and written an article about it.
The program has changed the way I see the world. For example, I recently went to go see Isn’t it Romantic with some colleagues from the Writing Center. Besides the social aspect of actually going somewhere that wasn’t to work or accompli…

Always Becoming

One of the most exciting aspects of living in New York City is that I suddenly find myself in proximity with many movers and shakers of the world. Granted, most of these celebrities are way beyond my sphere of influence (though in some circles several of my professors are celebrities), and I so rarely leave the bubble of Teachers College that I have yet to have a celebrity sighting like some of my friends have had, but I had the chance to meet with a mover and shaker who I’ve been admiring for the (short) time that I’ve been exposed to her and her work. I wrote about how this meeting came about in my last post.
This mover and shaker is a journalist who writes about Indian experiences in the US. She does so in deeply reflective ways that unpack the layers of Indian experiences and reveal a strong intuitive theoretical understanding that our program takes an entire semester to cultivate in us doctoral students.
All of this meant that I was bursting to talk to her about a whole host of thi…

A Chance Encounter

Back when my parents were in Dallas, newly married and just beginning their life together in a new country (for my mom) and a brand-new city (for both), my dad happened to take a marketing course with an Indian professor. Because they were Indian, and secondarily because they were new to the city, the professor took on a mentor role and invited my parents frequently to his home. He and his wife brought my parents in contact with other Indians in the university and created a community of brown solidarity.
My parents hadn’t been in contact with this professor in years. But last November, my dad emailed him after coming across an article that was written by a woman with the same last name who made several references to her father that seemed to match to the professor. A few hours later, my father got a reply that she was indeed his daughter.
I was home for this revelation and suddenly, I started encountering more of her articles upon returning to New York, all of which focused on Indian ex…

Reflections On Becoming A Teacher

This is something I wrote just trying to think about some of the things we have been learning and thinking about. My classes this semester are much more interesting and leave me feeling like connections are coming at me left right and center but the only way for me to process these connections is to write. So here is the first of (hopefully) many where I synthesize the ideas that are going through my head. I invite you to think with me and grow with me by commenting below (I do see your comments! I may even reply :) )


I want to spend some time reflecting on what I have been learning lately. My classes have been converging towards the practical spaces, realities and pedagogies that go into creating a multicultural, anti-racist educational system. I am drawing on three readings in this reflection that came from the same course. All were about teacher education. Two were easy to contrast. One was called the pedagogy of difference and the other was called the pedagogy of fear. The first w…

Sounds of New York City

To me New York City is associated with a constant barrage of sounds. My heater makes a racket at least once an hour for ten minutes while it spews and spits steam to warm my room enough that I have the window open even in January. When the heater isn’t making a racket, my fridge is buzzing and thrumming.
This is not to mention the sounds that come from outside. Sirens are a constant (though blessedly not between 10pm-7am for some reason). And loudest are the garbage men who come twice a day (some times) and bring with them sounds of yelling, the whirring of the truck and banging that all carry to my ninth floor room. They can come any time between 7 or 8 in the morning and often spur me to go work out earlier than I might have to get away from the noise.
At night, between my heater and fridge there is constant noise while I sleep. One night when I lay awake in my bed, I suddenly realized that the room was completely quiet. No sounds coming from outside, no heater spitting and no fri…

A Very Finnish Christmas

I just came back from my first visit to Finland after officially moving back to the States. The trip was important for many personal reasons (I miss Finland, I miss hearing Finnish, I miss Fazer chocolates, you get the idea) but the most important reason for going back was to finally experience a Finnish Christmas.
I have my boyfriend’s mother and sister to thank for giving me that experience. They planned the day down to a T and, while it was very different from what I had expected, it was still wonderful experiencing a holiday that has had little meaning for my own family through the eyes of a family who cares deeply about it.
First, let me say what I was expecting. Holidays in India are a chance for families to all come together. Unlike people in the US, for whom families coming together is associated with a great deal of stress and angst, for Indians the family together means a happy state of constant happy chaos, eating and usually some religious activities. So I, despite everyt…