Let’s make the decision to agree to agree to participate in a little exercise to see if the students are right in their claims that most adults can’t be trusted, or if there are several unmentioned parents, teachers (and district policies), or children equally responsible for some of the dysfunction seen or reported in the opinion sources throughout the country – deal?
As teachers, parents, or society at large view what is perceived to be habits or the extent of the innate characteristics of some Black and Latino students, the shock and awe mentioned in media sources most strongly originates from the expectation that the child should merely behave by old school rules and mandates, when many children believe adults pick and choose when old school rules and mandates even exist, or the child has never been introduced to them. In seeking to be fair while broadening how each person views the realities of these equally deserving children, let’s take a look at some potential problem areas connected to students, teachers, public education policies, and parents to ascertain whether or not there are some larger problem areas ignored or avoided affecting the most talked about and negatively affected children in America – deal?
One student said, “When adults change the rules all the time, or they have picks of who they like and will help or who they do not like and will not help, how in the world can we follow where they’re leading, when how or where they’re leading changes all the time or is based on those they care about and those they do not?” – expressed by a 13-year-old female student
Another student stated, “I attend a school with mixed races, but it’s obvious who the preferred is with some teachers. I love Science. I always have, but I’m having a problem in the class because the White teacher dismisses my questions because she thinks I can’t grasp her lessons. My problem has nothing to do with being unable to grasp what she is teaching. Her dismissive attitude toward me is connected to my hearing her say; “I just don’t understand those Black students!” And I asked her to repeat herself, but she just looked startled and refused. Now I am not rude, disruptive, or disrespectful, but I have never received anything positive from this teacher and I do not understand what she does not understand about me or people like me. She always says, ‘There is no such thing as a dumb question or if you want to know something ask the question,’ but she refuses to follow her own advice and ask me or any other Black student her question. She has never asked any of us anything about us connected to those things she is supposedly unable to understand, but I’m somehow the problem when she is the person saying one thing while doing another. The bigger problem I have with her is every time you enter her class she talks about being respectful and respecting everyone, while acting as a hypocrite! I’m beginning to wonder why should I just respect her when she appears to have a closed mind about my being an equally-deserving, though neglected student in her class she has the responsibility of teaching like her favored White students.” – expressed by a 16-year-old, Black female student
What did you think is potentially causing a problem for the student? ______________________________________________________________________________
How would you address or rectify the situation if this were your problem, or one addressing your child? ________________________________________________________________________
TEACHERS AND/OR PUBLIC EDUCATION POLICIES
There has been no recorded policy or information found about moving students from one grade to another without the student actually taking the classes to be deemed qualified for advancing to the “right” grade or skipping an entire year of instruction. Students have participated in an unknown and unannounced program allowing students who’d previously failed a grade or two, to be bumped up to their “right” grade after a three-week summer program. The advancement to the right grade is in the midst of these students having missed an entire year or two of curriculum for grades they are now allowed to skip, in spite of the fact that the state has stipulated the classes mandated for each grade level and calendar year.
Does anyone see a problem in the just mentioned scenario? If so, what is the problem? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
What or is there a viable option for repair or resolution? Who is presumed to be at fault?
Love In Abundance was an internal stakeholder in three Title I schools we were allowed to enter, but everything was subject to the requirements of each campus as a whole, as stipulated by the principal. For instance, if state-mandated testing was in progress, the programs or activities of LIA were placed on hold until the testing period is over. No problem, because we were guests on the campus. If changes were initiated due to changes in the school agenda, our programs were placed on hiatus until those areas were in alignment with the principal’s newest priorities. This too was not a problem, because guests do not make the rules; they follow them. Such was the case for Love In Abundance causing us to miss almost a month of time and activities with our students. Upon returning to the campus, students were so happy to see me that hugs overflowed. Many asked where I had been because they were not told by the school’s officials that my absence was connected to some changes in the principal’s agenda, and I was normally not informed of the testing until days after my time with our students via a phone call. This was a problem because the two most pressing things LIA attempts to gain with our students is: Teaching the value of being consistent and showing students our willingness to gain their trust by keeping our word once it’s given.
One student ran up to hug me moments after the larger group had left, and her teacher publicly berated her in front of her peers for several minutes. This woman screamed and cursed at this child for getting out of line and talking when she was not supposed to. When I offered an apology for the disruption, my apology was fervently rejected by this teacher’s hand being thrown up close to my face (as if to tell me she had no interest in what I had to say). This woman was an English teacher and an alleged educated person, but her hand stayed up in the same position with her other hand on her hip as she continued to publicly berate this child for merely being happy.
Who is responsible for the disruption? Was the situation handled professionally? What would have been a more amicable or respectful stance? Did the teacher respond or react in a respectful manner?
What would you have done differently to assure an amicable resolve was available for the child and the educated person acting as a teacher? What changes should be created for the sake of professionalism being modeled? What could have or should have been the resolve in place prior to or in the midst of a similar interruption?
Parent participation is a huge problem on too many school campuses beginning around fifth grade and continuing to ninth grade (once LIA’s target audience). The problem many parents cannot be aware of is this is the same timeframe when students experience the most essential developmental discoveries for any child, in any socioeconomic level. Teachers have gone as far as creating incentives or practically bribing parents to show up at school on parent/teacher night (much like teachers have to bribe some children in class to pay attention or do their class work).
Parent/teacher associations and other groups have added incentive programs to get parents to participate in their child’s education because active parents play an extremely beneficial role in the academic life and success of their child through participation and attendance. In the midst of parents having the power to stimulate their child’s attitude to excel beyond the limitations offered in their education, the number of parents present on the campus to view the work of their child remains significantly lower than the students on any given teacher’s class roster.
LOVE BREAK! Power is shown to the child when the parent plays an active role in their education, even if they cannot read or do not understand the assignments sent home. Parents can show their child the power of asking for help when they need help, by asking for help when they need help. For your child’s sake, please!
Love In Abundance, as a result provides every student the option of living with self as the priority, while respecting self and authority. Pro ME is Not Anti YOU™! is an expanded vehicle offering similar lessons, while also empowering students with the right and power to show America who they are as a people. Will you help us help them by referring students to send a query letter about who they are and who they are working to become. Email the query to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to changing the world together, while showing students the power of collaborations and repertoire and reciprocity.