ginny’s gentle takeover

My sister Ginny asked me nearly a month ago if I would be willing to let her use this space for a school project. I told her I’d be happy to help even though I feared I had no readers left, and then of course I forgot about the existence of other humans and never put up the post. So I’m doing it now.

Ginny is in her last year of college and hopes to graduate so she can become an elementary school teacher and rock the minds of young Americans. If you don’t help with this she might fail and it will be your fault.

Is that sufficient motivation? If so, here are some details of the project:

I would like to interview random students, family, and friends to discover if there were times in school when they felt “different” and to see how these situations may or may not have been addressed by teachers. I will inquire about how the subject came to the decision that they were “different” – were they told by someone that they were “different”, or was it something they could see or feel? I will try to find out if the subject of the interview saw being “different” as an asset or hindrance and how it may have affected their ability to learn.

And here are her interview questions. Please feel free to respond in email if you’d like to participate but would rather not post a comment. You can use the contact link to send me a message.

  1. What is your current age?
  2. What is your gender?
  3. How would you classify yourself racially/ethnically?
  4. How would you classify yourself socially/economically?
  5. Was there ever a time in school when you felt “different” than the majority of the children in your class or school?
  6. What made you “different?”
  7. How did you become aware of this “difference?”
  8. What grade/how old were you when you felt this “difference?”
  9. Did you feel that your “difference” was an asset in school or a hindrance?
  10. Do you feel that being “different” or feeling “different” had an effect on your ability to learn and succeed in school?
  11. Was your “difference” ever addressed by a teacher or administrator? If so, how was your “difference” addressed and in what context?
  12. In which state/country did you live when this occurred?
  13. Would you say that your school was very diverse, moderately diverse, somewhat diverse, or not diverse at all?
  14. What racial/ethnic groups do you remember that were represented in your school and which was the dominant group?
  15. Do you feel that the level of diversity that you experienced in school had an impact on your interactions with diverse groups of people later in your life?
  16. If so, how did your early experiences impact your experiences later in life?

Ginny hopes to analyze the responses to her questions to see what kinds of patterns might emerge. I hope you’ll consider helping out with this project – thanks in advance!

Comments 14

  • 1. What is your current age? 21
    2. What is your gender? female
    3. How would you classify yourself racially/ethnically? Asian
    4. How would you classify yourself socially/economically? middle class
    5. Was there ever a time in school when you felt “different” than the majority of the children in your class or school? yes
    6. What made you “different?” my race
    7. How did you become aware of this “difference?” most of the students in my class were of a different race than me
    8. What grade/how old were you when you felt this “difference?” 1st grade
    9. Did you feel that your “difference” was an asset in school or a hindrance?
    10. Do you feel that being “different” or feeling “different” had an effect on your ability to learn and succeed in school? sometimes
    11. Was your “difference” ever addressed by a teacher or administrator? If so, how was your “difference” addressed and in what context? i don’t remember
    12. In which state/country did you live when this occurred? VA
    13. Would you say that your school was very diverse, moderately diverse, somewhat diverse, or not diverse at all? middle and high school were moderately diverse
    14. What racial/ethnic groups do you remember that were represented in your school and which was the dominant group? Asian, Hispanic, Black, White- White was the dominant
    15. Do you feel that the level of diversity that you experienced in school had an impact on your interactions with diverse groups of people later in your life? yes
    16. If so, how did your early experiences impact your experiences later in life? When I came to college it was different in that it was less diverse than my high school

  • 1. What is your current age? 21
    2. What is your gender? female
    3. How would you classify yourself racially/ethnically? caucasian
    4. How would you classify yourself socially/economically? middle class
    5. Was there ever a time in school when you felt “different” than the majority of the children in your class or school? Yes
    6. What made you “different?” being too smart
    7. How did you become aware of this “difference?” comments other kids made
    8. What grade/how old were you when you felt this “difference?” 8th grade/13yrs old
    9. Did you feel that your “difference” was an asset in school or a hindrance? ended up an asset
    10. Do you feel that being “different” or feeling “different” had an effect on your ability to learn and succeed in school? yeah, stopped trying for a while
    11. Was your “difference” ever addressed by a teacher or administrator? If so, how was your “difference” addressed and in what context? no
    12. In which state/country did you live when this occurred? VA
    13. Would you say that your school was very diverse, moderately diverse, somewhat diverse, or not diverse at all? not at all diverse (yay SR!!)
    14. What racial/ethnic groups do you remember that were represented in your school and which was the dominant group? white. black. white was dominant
    15. Do you feel that the level of diversity that you experienced in school had an impact on your interactions with diverse groups of people later in your life? yes
    16. If so, how did your early experiences impact your experiences later in life? i couldn’t say.

  • 1. What is your current age?
    >>> 26
    2. What is your gender?
    >>> Male
    3. How would you classify yourself racially/ethnically?
    >>> Caucasian
    4. How would you classify yourself socially/economically?
    >>> Middle Class
    5. Was there ever a time in school when you felt “different” than the majority of the children in your class or school?
    >>> Yes
    6. What made you “different?”
    >>> Being Ahead Of Them In Maturity, And Educationally
    7. How did you become aware of this “difference?”
    >>> Realizing I Didn’t Always Fit In
    8. What grade/how old were you when you felt this “difference?”
    >>> 6th/7th Grade
    9. Did you feel that your “difference” was an asset in school or a hindrance?
    >>> It Seemed To Be A Hindrance At The Time, But It Really Was An Asset
    10. Do you feel that being “different” or feeling “different” had an effect on your ability to learn and succeed in school?
    >>> Yes…It Caused Me To Rebel At Some Points And My Grades Suffered
    11. Was your “difference” ever addressed by a teacher or administrator? If so, how was your “difference” addressed and in what context?
    >>> No
    12. In which state/country did you live when this occurred?
    >>> Virginia
    13. Would you say that your school was very diverse, moderately diverse, somewhat diverse, or not diverse at all?
    >>> Not At All Diverse
    14. What racial/ethnic groups do you remember that were represented in your school and which was the dominant group?
    >>> White And Black. White Was The Dominant
    15. Do you feel that the level of diversity that you experienced in school had an impact on your interactions with diverse groups of people later in your life?
    >>> No
    16. If so, how did your early experiences impact your experiences later in life?
    >>> N/A

  • What is your current age? — 21
    What is your gender? –F
    How would you classify yourself racially/ethnically? White
    How would you classify yourself socially/economically? Middleclass
    Was there ever a time in school when you felt “different” than the majority of the children in your class or school? Yes
    What made you “different?” Being more mature than my peers
    How did you become aware of this “difference?” After class projects and graded assigments were handed back, etc, classroom discussions
    What grade/how old were you when you felt this “difference?” 15
    Did you feel that your “difference” was an asset in school or a hindrance? both
    Do you feel that being “different” or feeling “different” had an effect on your ability to learn and succeed in school? no
    Was your “difference” ever addressed by a teacher or administrator? If so, how was your “difference” addressed and in what context? no
    In which state/country did you live when this occurred? Virginia
    Would you say that your school was very diverse, moderately diverse, somewhat diverse, or not diverse at all? very diverse
    What racial/ethnic groups do you remember that were represented in your school and which was the dominant group? dominant: african american, but there were also white, asian, croatian, african, … a lot
    Do you feel that the level of diversity that you experienced in school had an impact on your interactions with diverse groups of people later in your life? YES
    If so, how did your early experiences impact your experiences later in life? I have a diverse group of friends

  • What is your current age? 17
    What is your gender? Female
    How would you classify yourself racially/ethnically? Caucasian
    How would you classify yourself socially/economically? Middle Class
    Was there ever a time in school when you felt “different” than the majority of the children in your class or school? Yes
    What made you “different?” : The fact that I eat food.
    How did you become aware of this “difference?” When I realized I could snap most of the girls in my grade in half.
    What grade/how old were you when you felt this “difference?” 6th grade
    Did you feel that your “difference” was an asset in school or a hindrance? Hindrance
    Do you feel that being “different” or feeling “different” had an effect on your ability to learn and succeed in school? No
    Was your “difference” ever addressed by a teacher or administrator? If so, how was your “difference” addressed and in what context? No it wasn’t
    In which state/country did you live when this occurred? VA
    Would you say that your school was very diverse, moderately diverse, somewhat diverse, or not diverse at all? Somewhat diverse
    What racial/ethnic groups do you remember that were represented in your school and which was the dominant group? African-American and Caucasian
    Do you feel that the level of diversity that you experienced in school had an impact on your interactions with diverse groups of people later in your life? Not really, I interact with everyone the same, and appreciate everyone
    If so, how did your early experiences impact your experiences later in life? They made me appreciate my friends and learn to accept more people

  • 1. What is your current age? 20
    2. What is your gender? Female
    3. How would you classify yourself racially/ethnically? White
    4. How would you classify yourself socially/economically? Middle Class
    5. Was there ever a time in school when you felt “different” than the majority of the children in your class or school? Yes
    6. What made you “different?” I was chubby.
    7. How did you become aware of this “difference?” Somebody called me FAT
    8. What grade/how old were you when you felt this “difference?” 4th grade
    9. Did you feel that your “difference” was an asset in school or a hindrance? Hindrance
    10. Do you feel that being “different” or feeling “different” had an effect on your ability to learn and succeed in school? No
    11. Was your “difference” ever addressed by a teacher or administrator? If so, how was your “difference” addressed and in what context? No
    12. In which state/country did you live when this occurred? U.S.A.
    13. Would you say that your school was very diverse, moderately diverse, somewhat diverse, or not diverse at all? Somewhat Diverse
    14. What racial/ethnic groups do you remember that were represented in your school and which was the dominant group? White
    15. Do you feel that the level of diversity that you experienced in school had an impact on your interactions with diverse groups of people later in your life? No
    16. If so, how did your early experiences impact your experiences later in life? Despite my school being mainly white, I lived in a neighborhood with a lot of diversity. Thus, I am comfortable with people from most any background!

  • umm. you want these here? cause mine is going to be long!!!

  • What is your current age? 33

    What is your gender? female

    How would you classify yourself racially/ethnically? caucasian

    How would you classify yourself socially/economically? middle class — socially.
    economically — lower middle class

    Was there ever a time in school when you felt “different” than the majority of the children in your class or school? — all the time.

    What made you “different?” “gifted”/ spaz/ really small/short for my age. also had less money than other kids. my dad was sick and we had hand-me downs and stuff.

    How did you become aware of this “difference?” — skipped first grade/ small for my age. was made fun of for being smart .. ‘walking dictionary’ made fun of for being a spaz. made fun of for my clothing choices.

    What grade/how old were you when you felt this “difference?” right after kindergarten

    Did you feel that your “difference” was an asset in school or a hindrance? both.

    Do you feel that being “different” or feeling “different” had an effect on your ability to learn and succeed in school? — no. i definitely succeeded in school … if anything, it helped me academically. socially, it was a hindrance.

    Was your “difference” ever addressed by a teacher or administrator? If so, how was your “difference” addressed and in what context? yes. i was put under psychological testing at a very young age and then i was skipped over first grade and put into a split 1/2 grade class and then a 2/3 grade class and then 4 and 5. i also was in extra ‘gifted’ classes and shit.

    In which state/country did you live when this occurred? wisconsin

    Would you say that your school was very diverse, moderately diverse, somewhat diverse, or not diverse at all? not diverse at all. very white/christian (protestant/catholic)

    What racial/ethnic groups do you remember that were represented in your school and which was the dominant group? white. a few latino. maybe one black kid by high school. no indians. no jewish. no muslim.

    Do you feel that the level of diversity that you experienced in school had an impact on your interactions with diverse groups of people later in your life? um… a little bit. i think even though i do a good job of openly fighting it and being a good open-minded liberal, there is some institutional/regional subconsicous racism there that i work very hard to be conscious of. which i am ashamed of and which sucks.

    If so, how did your early experiences impact your experiences later in life? having no clue about certain people or anything about their experiences. no clue about jews/muslims/asians/indians, etc. i didn’t grow up with ANY exposure to these cultures at all. zero dollars.

  • What is your current age? 22

    What is your gender? Female

    How would you classify yourself racially/ethnically? white

    How would you classify yourself socially/economically? upper middle class

    Was there ever a time in school when you felt “different” than the majority of the children in your class or school? yes

    What made you “different?” I was a more advanced 7th grade musician than the rest of my peers in strings class

    How did you become aware of this “difference?” I could do vibrato (a technique used on string instruments that tries to make notes sound like the human voice) on my instrument, where as many others could not. I remember I felt like I would be showing off if I did vibrato in class, and I didn’t want people to say that I was being a show off.

    What grade/how old were you when you felt this “difference?” 12-13 years old in 7th grade

    Did you feel that your “difference” was an asset in school or a hindrance? It was an asset because I was one of a few students that could do it, but a hindrance because I made the effort not to do vibrato in class

    Do you feel that being “different” or feeling “different” had an effect on your ability to learn and succeed in school? no. I still learned and had success in middle school orchestra, but was not challenged in the public school setting

    Was your “difference” ever addressed by a teacher or administrator? If so, how was your “difference” addressed and in what context? My orchestra teacher knew I could do vibrato by listening to me play a solo piece I was working on, so she encouraged me to use it when I attended youth orchestra rehearsals, tried out and made honors orchestras, played for solo and ensemble, and took private lessons.

    In which state/country did you live when this occurred? Virginia

    Would you say that your school was very diverse, moderately diverse, somewhat diverse, or not diverse at all? somewhat diverse

    What racial/ethnic groups do you remember that were represented in your school and which was the dominant group? represented ethnic groups: white, black, hispanic, Asian
    dominant group: white

    Do you feel that the level of diversity that you experienced in school had an impact on your interactions with diverse groups of people later in your life? my middle school was not as diverse as the high school I attended, so going from middle to high school was a big shock. However, there was more diversity in the orchestra program at both the middle and high schools, so I feel comfortable working with diversity in a music setting, since I had been exposed to it for all of my public music education.

    If so, how did your early experiences impact your experiences later in life? I am currently student teaching back at home, and I feel comfortable the diverse group of kids I have because I have come through the Prince William music program just like they are doing. Nothing at JMU or my practicums really prepared me for diversity, since the surrounding music programs are nothing like the ones in Prince William.

  • 1. What is your current age? 22
    2. What is your gender? MALE
    3. How would you classify yourself racially/ethnically? CAUCASIN
    4. How would you classify yourself socially/economically? UPPER CLASS TO UPPER MIDDLE CLASS DEPENDING ON THE SIDE OF THE FAMILY…
    5. Was there ever a time in school when you felt “different” than the majority of the children in your class or school? YES
    6. What made you “different?” I WAS FAT, I WAS REALLY SMART, BUT THE CLASSWORK WAS SO BORING THAT I ACTED OUT
    7. How did you become aware of this “difference?” THE FAT PART WAS EASY CAUSE I HAD TO WEAR HUSKY JEANS, THE SMART THING WAS WHEN I COULD LEARN SO MUCH FASTER THAN THE OTHER KIDS
    8. What grade/how old were you when you felt this “difference?” FIRST GRADE FOR BOTH
    9. Did you feel that your “difference” was an asset in school or a hindrance? BOTH WERE A HINDRANCE BECAUSE BEING FAT GOT ME MAD FUN, WHICH UPSET ME AND THE SMART THING LEAD ME TO ACT OUT WHICH GOT ME IN TROUBLE A WHOLE HECK OF A LOT (I PUT ONE PRINCIPAL INTO RETIREMENT, ONE TOOK A PROMOTION TO GET OUT, HE WARNED THE THIRD ONE WHO BRIBED ME TO BE GOOD WITH BECOMING AN OFFICE ASSISTANT EACH DAY IF I DID NOT ACT OUT, WHICH WORKED…WHAT CAN I SAY I AM INTO ORGANIZATION AND CRAP LIKE THAT)
    10. Do you feel that being “different” or feeling “different” had an effect on your ability to learn and succeed in school? WELL BEING MADE FUN OF BLEW SO I DID NOT TRY TO MAKE FRIENDS, JUST STUCK WITH THE ONES I HAVE, HENCE WHY I DON’T DO WELL WITH MAKING FRIENDS AND FREAK OUT WHEN MEETING NEW PEOPLE OR WHEN PEOPLE WHISPER AROUND ME. THE SMART THING WAS HARD BECAUSE WHEN I GET BORED I CANT FOCUS WHICH LEAD TO GRADES THAT WERE LESS THAN I COULD HAVE EARNED
    11. Was your “difference” ever addressed by a teacher or administrator? If so, how was your “difference” addressed and in what context? I WAS TESTED IN THE SECOND GRADE AND WAS TOLD THAT I HAD A READING LEAVE OF AN 11TH GRADER YET I WAS NEVER PUT INTO THE GIFTED PROGRAM BECAUSE I ACTED OUT, WEIRD
    12. In which state/country did you live when this occurred? VIRGINIA
    13. Would you say that your school was very diverse, moderately diverse, somewhat diverse, or not diverse at all? IF YOU CALL 5 AFRICAN AMERICANS, 1 INDIAN, AND 15 ASIAN DIVERSE THEN YES, BUT I WOULD HAVE TO DISAGREE
    14. What racial/ethnic groups do you remember that were represented in your school and which was the dominant group? THE DOMINANT GROUP WAS WHITE, AND SEE ABOVE AS I AM TOO LAZY TO RETYPE
    15. Do you feel that the level of diversity that you experienced in school had an impact on your interactions with diverse groups of people later in your life? IF I HAD STAYED IN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM I STARTED IN I WOULD HAVE BEEN WORSE OFF BUT I SWITCHED IN 8TH GRADE TO ANOTHER SCHOOL SYSTEM AND ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL I WAS LIKE WOW I HAVE NEVER SEEN THIS MANY AFRICAN AMERICANS. WASN’T MY PROUDEST MOMENT, BUT WHAT CAN YOU DO. I WENT TO A PUBLIC SCHOOL THAT HAD MORE MONEY THAN MOST PRIVATE SCHOOLS.
    16. If so, how did your early experiences impact your experiences later in life? THEY MOST LIKELY LEAD TO ME CHOOSING TO ATTEND A PRIVATE COLLEGE AND ACT THE WAY I DO, NOT ALWAYS THE BEST BUT HEY NO ONE IS PERFECT

  • What is your current age? -21
    What is your gender? male
    How would you classify yourself racially/ethnically? white
    How would you classify yourself socially/economically? middle class
    Was there ever a time in school when you felt “different” than the majority of the children in your class or school? yes
    What made you “different?” i was more advanced in music than most of the people my age
    How did you become aware of this “difference?” i saw a difference in my skill compared to the other people in my class
    What grade/how old were you when you felt this “difference?” 7th grade
    Did you feel that your “difference” was an asset in school or a hindrance? asset
    Do you feel that being “different” or feeling “different” had an effect on your ability to learn and succeed in school? no
    Was your “difference” ever addressed by a teacher or administrator? If so, how was your “difference” addressed and in what context? yes, i was given more opportunities compared to other classmates
    In which state/country did you live when this occurred? virginia
    Would you say that your school was very diverse, moderately diverse, somewhat diverse, or not diverse at all? somewhat diverse
    What racial/ethnic groups do you remember that were represented in your school and which was the dominant group? white, black, asian
    Do you feel that the level of diversity that you experienced in school had an impact on your interactions with diverse groups of people later in your life? yes
    If so, how did your early experiences impact your experiences later in life? how to approach different situations with different ethnic groups

  • Ginny, I hope this helps:

    1. What is your current age? 27
    2. What is your gender? F
    3. How would you classify yourself racially/ethnically? Caucasian
    4. How would you classify yourself socially/economically? Middle (to Upper Middle) Class
    5. Was there ever a time in school when you felt “different” than the majority of the children in your class or school? Yes
    6. What made you “different?” I was fat, socially awkward, and I started wearing a bra way before any of the other girls.
    7. How did you become aware of this “difference?” Was teased
    8. What grade/how old were you when you felt this “difference?”4th grade
    9. Did you feel that your “difference” was an asset in school or a hindrance? Hindrance
    10. Do you feel that being “different” or feeling “different” had an effect on your ability to learn and succeed in school? I was so self-conscious, I think it affected my ability to speak out in class discussion or participate in anything that would draw attention to me individually. Social studies fair scared me.
    11. Was your “difference” ever addressed by a teacher or administrator? If so, how was your “difference” addressed and in what context? Hmm. My gifted and talented teacher harangued to me about my lack of enthusiasm for said social studies fair. I spouted off and got kicked out of class.
    12. In which state/country did you live when this occurred?Louisiana
    13. Would you say that your school was very diverse, moderately diverse, somewhat diverse, or not diverse at all? Not diverse
    14. What racial/ethnic groups do you remember that were represented in your school and which was the dominant group?white middle class
    15. Do you feel that the level of diversity that you experienced in school had an impact on your interactions with diverse groups of people later in your life? Perhaps
    16. If so, how did your early experiences impact your experiences later in life? I still don’t like to be in the spotlight.

  • 1. What is your current age? 20
    2. What is your gender? female
    3. How would you classify yourself racially/ethnically? white
    4. How would you classify yourself socially/economically? middle class
    5. Was there ever a time in school when you felt “different” than the majority of the children in your class or school? all the time.
    6. What made you “different?” that I wasn’t like everyone else. Meaning, in what I believed, how I dressed, how I behaved… the normal “oddball” syndrome.
    7. How did you become aware of this “difference?” Other people liked to point it out.
    8. What grade/how old were you when you felt this “difference?” Middle school- 6th grade
    9. Did you feel that your “difference” was an asset in school or a hindrance? at first a hindrance, later an asset
    10. Do you feel that being “different” or feeling “different” had an effect on your ability to learn and succeed in school? Fortunately not, I tried very hard to fit it, but eventually learned that being different is not something to be afraid of.
    11. Was your “difference” ever addressed by a teacher or administrator? If so, how was your “difference” addressed and in what context? I suppose it was, but not in a negative light. I’ve always been mature for my age and adults always pointed it out in a positive light.
    12. In which state/country did you live when this occurred? Virginia
    13. Would you say that your school was very diverse, moderately diverse, somewhat diverse, or not diverse at all? moderately diverse.
    14. What racial/ethnic groups do you remember that were represented in your school and which was the dominant group? it was basically black and white 50/50
    15. Do you feel that the level of diversity that you experienced in school had an impact on your interactions with diverse groups of people later in your life? yes.
    16. If so, how did your early experiences impact your experiences later in life? I feel as though I have no problem getting along with people of any race because, in all actuality, race doesn’t matter :-)

  • 1. What is your current age? 52
    2. What is your gender? male
    3. How would you classify yourself racially/ethnically? Caucasian
    4. How would you classify yourself socially/economically? middle class
    5. Was there ever a time in school when you felt “different” than the majority of the children in your class or school? yes
    6. What made you “different?” interest in science
    7. How did you become aware of this “difference?”most of the other kids were interested in how they looked, what other people thought of them, who made the big plays in sports, or which cliques they ran in.
    8. What grade/how old were you when you felt this “difference?” 9th
    9. Did you feel that your “difference” was an asset in school or a hindrance? Now, an asset; then, difficult to say
    10. Do you feel that being “different” or feeling “different” had an effect on your ability to learn and succeed in school? a positive effect
    11. Was your “difference” ever addressed by a teacher or administrator? Advanced classes, national merit scholarship, etc.
    12. In which state/country did you live when this occurred? VA
    13. Would you say that your school was very diverse, moderately diverse, somewhat diverse, or not diverse at all? somewhat diverse
    14. What racial/ethnic groups do you remember that were represented in your school and which was the dominant group? White was the dominant, some Black, few Asians, and a mix of many nationalities.
    15. Do you feel that the level of diversity that you experienced in school had an impact on your interactions with diverse groups of people later in your life? yes
    16. If so, how did your early experiences impact your experiences later in life? The area I lived in had a high percentage of persons with international connections of some form, with the population having a very high percentage of post graduate professionals, so most social interactions were devoid of racially or ethnically discriminating overtones. There were a few “Old South” types, though they were a distinct minority. I have some relatives who are Old South types, and their racism is still evident, though a good percentage of them seem to have outgrown it.

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