The first thought that comes to my head when I hear cultural beliefs I think of the things that make a person who they are. Things that people will fight for and stand up for no matter what anyone says or thinks. I, myself am not much about being outspoken, but when it comes to what I believe in and what I value, I will fight for my beliefs and values. According to our text culture is “the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought characteristic of a community or a population”.

The culture we are raised in effects our future identity and how others will perceive us. The definition of identity is “the fact of being who or what a person or thing is”. I have grown up in Indiana all of my life, but I was born in Iowa. I do not consider myself to be from Iowa because I was too young to remember anything about it. Since I was six months, I have been in Indiana. When I think about my values and beliefs and I would not categorize myself as a ‘traditional’ Midwesterner.

My life has and probably will always be different from others, but I know that my belief system came from me and what I think is right and wrong, not from others. I do now recognize that my culture and environment has aided in creating my identity, but I believe that I have taken the negatives, prejudices, and racism that have surrounded me since I was born and created my own set of cultural beliefs. My life has given me the opportunity to become a much-diversified person when it comes to cultural beliefs. My first belief that I will discuss is my agnostic belief in religion.

Agnostic means one does not know whether or not there is god, but rather holds a belief that there is something, but we just do not have enough information to make a good decision about what that ‘something’ is. My entire life I was raised in the Baptist faith. I have been to a diverse amount of churches and done a vast amount on research on religion and just am not capable of accepting a religion that requires so much faith without any facts. I am a factual person, who if I am going to commit my life to a religion I want to do so completely. When I was younger, this was something that bothered me about the Christian faith.

I need facts and not rules on how to live my life, and no religion I found did that for me. I believe that me being agnostic makes me more open to others’ beliefs in religion. I am able to sit down and listen to someone talk about their religion rather than try to convert them to my religion. I know how important religion is in shaping a person and their values. My lack of religion and my pervious past with religion helps in understanding others. My lack of religion will help me in making others of different backgrounds and religions feel welcome in my classroom.

I can relate to the children who hold religion as important because at one point in my life, religion was just as important for me, but I will also be able to connect with the others who do not have a religion. My second belief is in hard work. I have lived a life where if I did not work as hard as I did I would have never made it to the place I am in now. Hard work is the only way to get what you want. Socially speaking there may be other factors that interrupt getting to your goals, but I will always believe that you can do anything if you set your mind to it.

Sometimes there maybe obstacles in the way, but if you are meant to do it you will be able to accomplish anything. I believe in destiny, and that everyone is here on Earth for a reason, everyone has a destiny. My mom when I was younger put an emphasis on hard work in school. Since my mom and I never really had a great relationship, this is probably one of the few beliefs that I acquired from her. This being the one and almost only good and positive thing that I learned from her, I feel it is important to reiterate this to others. Hard work always pays off.

It makes you feel like you can do anything. Hard work is a quality of a well-rounded person who knows how to be responsible. I will never forget when I got my first job as a host at Applebees in my hometown of Frankfort. I was so excited to finally have a job. Many people ran around work talking about how hard I worked. Before I knew it, I was employee of the month, and moved to a different position were I could make more money. I have since then worked there for four years and consider myself one of the most respected workers there.

When I was sixteen I moved out of mother’s house because she had not held a job since I was fourteen and was unable to care for me properly. Without hard work set as a cultural belief so early, my life could have taken a terrible turn for the worse. I knew though if I set my mind to it I could work and go to school. I could continue to get the grades I needed to get scholarships and get into the college I wanted. I knew I could work hard to get the things I want, and that it may take longer than the other kids around me may, but I could still do it.

Without my determination and hard work to succeed in my life, to continue my education, and to have the career I wanted I could not have gotten this far. I know with these experiences that I have had I will be able to make a difference in students and how they perceive hard work. A common misconception that students hold against teachers is that they never had hardships, and never had to work hard. Once I become a teacher, I will be able to show my students that we all come from many different and diverse backgrounds.

I want to show students that many people will categorize them incorrectly. My third belief pertains to receiving respect. I hold the belief that I will show you respect if you show me respect. I have never met someone who has blatantly disrespected me the first time I have met them. I believe that if someone just disrespects me or someone else for no apparent reason that they do not have strong character. It says a lot about someone when someone is unable to respect someone’s beliefs, lifestyle, or opinion. It just shows you how diverse someone can be when meeting new people.

I do not think that you should judge someone based off his or her race, gender, sexual preference, or religious beliefs. Showing someone, respect shows that you are also a respectable person, and in turn deserve respect back. Going into the field of teaching, I will need to be able to sit this belief aside. On a regular basis I will be faced with students that do not want to be in my class. They will not respect me just because I am older or because I am teacher. They may come from a culture or hold the belief that respect is of little importance.

This will be a challenge I will face in my years to come as an art teacher. The fourth belief of mine is independence is an important part of becoming an adult in society. When I was forced to move out on my own house I was quickly pushed towards independence at the early age of sixteen. Yes, this was hard, but I am glad I learned how to be independent at such a young age. Relying on someone else scares me because I have not had very many reliable people in my life. I know that I will always be there for myself and that ill always be the only thing that matters. I know that I can take care of myself and that is such a great feeling knowing that you can work and pay bills for yourself. It gives you a great feeling of accomplishment. Most people do not fully get the feeling of independence until they are out of college and well into a job, and many times some people completely miss out on the feeling of independence because they rely so heavily on others. I want to teach independence inside my classroom. Teaching my students independence will improve their chances of success.

With creating a lesson plan that encompasses independence such as independent projects outside the classroom, my students will be able to learn valuable content of art while also learning life skills. My fifth belief is the importance of education. I do not know where this belief come from, but I feel like this was drilled into my head my entire life. I am from a small town and it is very easy to be caught up in living a small town life. It is easy to graduate from high school, get a job, and stay there forever.

I know that there is so much that the world has to offer than a just a job in a small town. Education is the only way to get your life to a better place. In today’s world, you cannot do much without an education. I want to be able to do great things with my life. Every teacher I know has always drilled education into my head, and I have valued many of my teachers throughout my life for this. I know too many people who were stuck in my hometown and will probably never leave because they lack the motivation to further their education. I was and always will be afraid of being stuck in one place.

I want to have as many opportunities as possible and I know the only way to do that is thru furthering my education. If I can teach one thing to my students it will the importance of an education. I want to be able to show students with perseverance you can work to get the education and career you dream of. By understanding the different types of social classes of the community I teach in, I can help the students understand the resources that may be at hand to help them further their own education. Coming from the working class, I hold different perspectives that I can teach to connect to certain students.

If I can hold each student in high teacher expectations, I can drive my students to see how important education really is. My beliefs define who I am everyday of my life. Whether it is thru interaction with others or my daily life choices my beliefs make me who I am. My beliefs are my agnostic belief in religion, hard work, respecting others, independence, and the importance of education. I am glad to have my own set of beliefs that make me who I am. I hope to teach some of my cultural values like hard work and the importance of education in classroom in the near furture.

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