Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Black Lives Matter

I'm so frustrated/angry/disappointed/upset/hurt over the grand jury's decision not the indict the police officer that killed Micheal Brown. I know there are so many variables but conducting a trial should be minimum. I can't even talk about it anymore without crying. I feel so defeated. 

The truth is... it is hard being Black in this country. Things are not equal. I wonder what can I do to improve stereotypes? I teach my students (90% are Black and 5% are Latino) how to conduct themselves but who is going to teach Caucasians about racial stereotypes? Where do we go from here?

Next Steps???

One of the things that made the bus boycotts of the 1960s so successful was it was a unified "pronged" attack. If we unite WE SHALL OVERCOME. If we hit them in their pocketbooks WE SHALL OVERCOME. If we vote and get involved in politics WE SHALL OVERCOME.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Teacher Fights Student- Who is to Blame?

Recently there was a video recording of a teacher attacking a student. Many people are on the student's side and they may be right but....the teacher deserves a little consideration 

This video shows the whole thing (forgive the guy editing it he put the first part on repeat) The student is seen cursing at the teacher and sliding a chair in her direction. Cut to the hallway, the teacher is clearly on the phone talking to someone (probably administration) about the student. The student then throws a book at the teacher. The teacher reacts and starts trying to fight the student.

Pause: I have a problem the the campus monitor. When the student was first escorted from the classroom she should have never been allowed to return to get her belongings. Thus never having the opportunity to attack the teacher. Then after the first round is over he leaves the student to retrieve her thing and of course the second round of fighting begins. He should have never left the student unescorted. 

Teachers are human beings. We're not perfect. We deal with attitudes, threats, and verbal abuse from students sometimes on a daily basis. We have good days and bad days. I'm not trying to justify what the teacher did. The teacher in the video is an adult; she should have handled the situation better. She shouldn't have let the student get to her. However, I do understand how easy it is to lose control. 

I've been cussed out by students a few times. I've had a student threaten to "cut" me. When I kicked her out of class the Dean at my old school allowed her to come back to my class 30 minutes later...I guess threatening a teacher is no big deal. (In the Dean's defense he said he didn't read the referral until later and eventually suspended the student). 

The one time I almost lost my cool with a student was not my best day teaching. I don't exactly remember what she said but I remember it being ridiculously degrading and disrespectful. She was cursing me out in front of the whole class. I lost my patience. I was seconds away from calling her a bitch and forcibly removing her from my classroom.  I was that mad. I counted to 10 (literally) and got a campus monitor to take her out of my class.

Sometimes parents don't believe the mean hateful things that their children say to us. I had a parent tell me "My child would never say that." I bet you they did! The family of the student in the video basically excused the girl's behavior. That is part of the problem. 

In the teacher's lounge we often talk about how students don't have any respect for adults (namely us) anymore. I would have never talked to teachers the way students talk to us. Students don't understand why their behavior or way of talking is wrong.  

I try to spend time teaching my students how to talk and interact with others but honestly I don't feel that duty should fall to me. What happened to big mama telling her grandchild that if you want to interrupt adults talking you say "excuse me" and wait to be acknowledged? Why isn't dad teaching his son to say please and thank you? Teaching children manners goes hand-in-hand with teaching them what to do when they are upset and how to handle difficult situations (like dealing with a difficult teacher). 

The family unit is not doing it's job and this generation is suffering. We need to do better.