Guest lecture by Dr Michael Bartone, Central Connecticut State University.
Though our nation is called the United States of America, it is hard to find anything united about the current state of affairs. Part of the issue facing our nation are the constant pushback of racial and sexual and gendered identity in school. However, is this pushback new? Are these topics and society's reaction to the topics causing teacher burnout? Is this assault being fought in schools because of one's identity(ies) shocking? No. Using autoethnography, I share my experiences as a White cisgender male from an upper middle-class suburb in Connecticut, of Norwegian and Italian great grandparents, and how I came to understand race from my own education and teaching. Further, a closeted gay child, I explain my process of knowing and hiding being gay and how this played out as I taught elementary school (ages 5-11). Throughout my narratives of knowing and of teaching, I racially and queerly historicize the moments to better understand how the topics of racial and sexual identity have been at the forefront of culture war for decades. In doing so, I lean on the queer educators and those who fought for racial justice in the face of a hostile society, or possible vocal minority in society, to know my journey and to contextualize the plight of teachers today.
Michael D. Bartone, PhD (he/him/his) is an associate professor in elementary education at Central Connecticut State University. He is critical race theorist and queer theorist, where his research looks at racial and sexual identity in schools, how one comes to know identity and how teachers (mis)(un)knowings of identity influence their pedagogy in what they in/ex-clude in their classroom. Currently, he is looking at narratives in historicising queer and racial experiences in the face of assualts on teachers' sexual and racial identity. As a former elementary school teacher in Clarkston, Georgia, considered the most diverse square mile in the States, he never shied away from topics of race and sexuality in his own elementary teaching. In 2010, his 3rd graders in Oakland, California were asked to present their work studying the Civil Rights Movement at the 50th Anniversary of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina.