Family Reflections

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Cultural Considerations


My Experiences

Student Experiences

Traditions and History

What holidays and celebrations are appropriate in school? What events and historical figures are sources of celebration for the culture?

Holidays and celebrations when I was in school included Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Groundhog Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and St. Patrick's Day.

When I attended public school the only historical figures I remember celebrating were the Presidents and Christopher Columbus.

Holidays and celebrations for students where I work include Fall Festival, which replaces Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas around the World, and Valentine's Day.

Historical figures that are a source of celebration for students are famous black Americans, famous women in American History, and Presidents.

Family Configurations

What is the family structure? What is the hierarchy amongst family members? What are the roles of each family member? How is discipline handled among these configurations?

Family structure in my life was parents and siblings.

The hierarchy in my family growing up was father, then mother. In my own family, my husband and I are both equal in the hierarchy structure.

The roles of my parents when I was a child was mother in charge of the household, father worked. As I grew older, both parents began to share more household duties and both worked outside the home.

The discipline was handled by both parents. Sometimes discipline was handled by both parents at the same time, and sometimes it was handled by the parent that was available.

Single family homes, extended family homes.

The hierarchy in many homes often begins with the mother. There are also many situations of the grandparent being at the top of the hierarchy.

More often than not, the student does most of his or her caretaking due to single family homes.

The discipline is often absent altogether due to family dynamics. Many families are single parent, with that parent working outside the home and not available to handle discipline.

Rites of Passage

What rites of passage are there during the different stages of life?

When I was growing up baptism, sweet sixteen, driver's license, graduating from high school, entering college, legal drinking age, marriage, and becoming a senior citizen were the most frequently observed rites of passage.

For the students in my class, I see that birthdays, graduating ceremonies, and getting a job appear to be the most common rites of passage.


What are the religious occasions that might affect schooling? What restrictions are associated with religious topics?

When I was in public school, I was unaware of any religious occasions that affected schooling.

Religion was not a topic of discussion when I was in public school. For example, during Christmas it was merely about Santa Clause.

The most common religious occasions that affect schooling for the students I have worked with are Jewish occasions Yom Kippur, Shavuot, Simhat Torah, and Shemini Atzeret, because they require the student to be out of school.

Also, Jehovah's Witnesses are not allowed to celebrate Christmas, birthdays, Easter, and Thanksgiving. This requires them to either be absent, without being marked absent, or given other accommodations during the school day.

In the school that I work for, the acknowledgment of religious holidays may be taught as long as it is to provide instruction about religious traditions in world culture. The materials used in lessons dealing with religious holidays are required to be accurate, educational, as well as descriptive, focusing on the origins, history, paying close attention to commonly referenced meanings of the religious holidays being taught.


Are there any food restrictions that might coincide with cultural values?

In my experience going to school, I was unaware of any food restrictions that coincided with cultural values.

Religious dietary requirements can include vegetarian, vegan, kosher, halal.

Public schools in my district offer one meat free option and one pork free option, if pork is being served.


How are illnesses treated? What might be considered culturally inappropriate when treating illnesses at school?

In my experiences during public schooling, a student was checked by the nurse when they were ill and then the parent would be contacted.

During my early years in public school, I do not recall any issues of culturally inappropriate treatment of illnesses. The school I attended was not culturally diverse.

Illnesses at the school that I work at are only treated with parental consent. Appropriate documents are filled out at the beginning of the school year on each child, by the parent and kept on file.

Touching a person can be culturally inappropriate. All cultures have their own rules for touching and distance. Also, certain cultures use herbal remedies only.