I don't know if this is state law or merely negotiated into our contract, but we're required to obtain 18 hours of "professional development" each school year. For this year, 9 of those hours were determined by some committee of teachers at our school to be Unconscious Bias training, conducted by none other than the CTA. If the CTA were a labor union, what need would they have of a "human rights department"? Something is either related to pay, benefits, and working conditions, or it's not. But let's skip over that.
Given the subject matter and the presenting organization, I'm already consciously biased against it. Let's just put that out there right up front.
Here are some statements that were made today, do they seem at all contradictory to you?
"This is only a conversation, there's no need to be judgemental."
"Realize that your perspective is not the only 'right' one."
"It's hard to change."
"The training is supposed to bring about change...hopefully you will want to change."
"We all have unconscious biases. We all have biases that are hidden."
Here's the best line of the day: "In this training we are focusing on race." Of course we are.
Activities. Videos. Commentary. *sigh* It's bad enough that the last people I want to listen to are the CTA, but holy crap--after an hour I was dying. And we had 3 hours today, and 3 hours for each of the next two Tuesdays.
I have no desire to sit through compulsory navel-gazing. I know some people find value in excessive introspection, but I'm not one of those people. Not every piece of lint that you pull out merits pondering.
I'm bothered that I do 9 hours of professional development per week with my master's class but for some reason, that doesn't get to count towards my "professional development hours". And which is going to make me a better teacher, learning more about math or learning to see myself as a racist?
Update, 3/4/15: I should make clear that the quotes above were directed to the group as a whole, not to any individual.