I have no food in the house. It is raining heavily with lightening. I had an allergic reaction to something so now I have a rash and am itchy. Do I order pizza for delivery even though I just got it a couple days ago?
I want to be an adult, but I am not sure it is going to work.
I don't think you're lying when you teach them to trust the police. The difference is teaching them how to handle bad people in good positions. To me, it's no different than teaching a student how to handle a bad teacher. Can you have classroom visitors for them to meet police officers, firemen, and EMTs? Then again, you know my sensitivities on this subject and you can take my bias as you wish. :D
Note: this became a ramble and went a little off topic — sorry about that.
I understand your points. I also understand why you feel the way you do — many members of my family work in law enforcement, courts, and military. I am proud of them and I know they do good work. I would tell any of my students to trust my family members and the law enforcement people I’ve met through them.
At the same time, in Pre-K, it is hard to teach about “gray areas.” Most of their world is either right or wrong. There are “bad guys” and “good guys.” Teaching them that most police are good, but there might be some bad ones opens some serious cans of worms and I have to spend some time thinking about how to do it and how to do it with that age group. It is something I’ve been rolling around in my mind.
But also, I have to remember that I am a white teacher in a class with only Black and Latino children. That they have likely already witness unfair treatment of their family members.
I grew up in Suburbia with very little diversity. I had a handful of friends that weren’t white, but those were pretty much the only people of color I actually knew. Sure, I heard about racism and about instances where people in power treated groups of people unfairly. I didn’t agree with it, but I also had no idea how rampant it really was. I didn’t know how often it happened. I didn’t see it on tv, and I didn’t know anyone it had happened to.
But in college and afterwards, I was fortunate to befriend some awesome people who were black. These friends were ever so patient with me and took the time to teach me things that again, weren’t their responsibility. I had questions, so many questions. I had questions about hair, questions about terms, questions about what slang was ok for white people to use, and got really upset when I was called thick. They got to know my heart well-enough that I knew I could ask them about these things that I hadn’t felt comfortable asking other people. I was afraid my questions and ignorance might be taken as racist or rude or something. I had been so afraid of offending that I just never learned.
And as I became closer to them, I heard their stories about driving while black, walking while black, being detained without given a reason, etc. Every single one had more than one story of a time it happened with a police officer. They had stories about their parents, aunties, uncles, cousins. It was hard to find out how naive I was. They made jokes about keeping certain lawyers on retainer for when this happened, but I think there was a bit of seriousness to it.
I ended up sort of dating one of these great guys who are some of the most considerate, intelligent, compassionate, and protective people I know. One night, I volunteered to be the designated driver while some of his friends were in town. I was pulled over while driving them back to the house. The guy I was dating was in the passenger seat started apologizing as soon as the cop went back to his car. He said it was his fault for being in the front seat. That he’d pay the ticket. We didn’t even know why I was pulled over yet, and he just knew it had to do with the color of his skin. I was shocked at how quickly he jumped to that conclusion. The police officer came back to the car and then took everyone’s license to run. I think that’s legal, but when I finally got the officer to tell me why he pulled me over (after asking multiple, multiple times what the reason was), he said it was for making a left-hand turn on green after 2 am. I went back the next day — there’s no such sign there. Or on any of the nearby streets. I was not ticketed, but I did show him a police courtesy card once he told me why I was pulled over.
And when we got home I told him that under no circumstances was he to be sorry I had been pulled over. That if I had been ticketed he wouldn’t have had to pay for it. That I never would have held him at fault for someone else’s prejudices.
I can’t pretend with my students like their police encounters will mostly be positive. I don’t think I can tell them that it might be bad. I’m stuck in this place where I really am at a loss.
My students are not white. Their families probably won’t ever have a get out of jail free card. I don’t know the statistics on positive vs. negative police interactions are with people that are black or Latino, but I doubt it is good. My students will likely face a situation where they or their parents are questioned or pulled over solely based on the color of their skin.
I want to protect them from that knowledge. I want them to think the world is a wonderful place.
So as I struggle with this, I will focus on what community workers such as police are supposed to do, why we need police and other first responders. I will point out the Youth Relations Deputy and invite him to my room. But I will also teach students how to speak up for themselves and the importance of standing with someone else when they are not being treated right. I will continue to take classroom situations and allow them chances to solve the problem or think of solutions instead of just solving for them.
And I will continue to write letters and try to raise awareness.
Joe Schmoe has flaws, just like the rest of us. He has a hard time understanding people’s experiences / reactions that are different than his own. I’ve tried for years to get him to understand that my general anxiety disorder is different than times he has felt anxious because of work. He tried to understand, but his reactions to when I felt pretty much paralyzed because of my anxiety showed he didn’t get it. This summer, I explained what happens when the anxiety hits. That I want to hide under the covers. I can’t stop thinking about it. I lose sleep. It interferes with things I enjoy. One Christmas was ruined because I was worried students’ parents would be mad that I got them Christmas presents. That the anxiety is usually caused or triggered by mundane things. Things that I intellectually know are not big deals. Things that I know what to do or say, but am really freaked out/scared/worried about doing. That I have to imagine putting those worries in a box, locking it, putting on the top shelf and locking the door and then giving the keys to someone I trust. And I have to remind myself of that vision often.
I explained this because of my anxiety over dealing with my homeowners insurance with the flood, arguing over warranties, trying to get my account right with the internet company that didn’t put my account on vacation as asked, and trying to negotiate a better deal for my satellite tv. That those things all at once, had me wanting to run for the covers. No amount of “listening to him” do it would help for future circumstances because I already knew the basic things to say. That didn’t make the anxiety go away. It didn’t make my belief that such representatives tend to listen to men better than women go away. It didn’t make my worries about money and being screwed over disappear. He worked on the things I was stressed about, but I still didn’t think he got it completely.
With my dish washer problem, I was getting pretty frustrated. I e-mailed my Joe Schmoe about some Labor Day ads on appliances I saw in the paper and asked his advice about which way to go. Before I could open the e-mail which said I should go into Lowe’s, see if they had any open boxed dish washers, and negotiate an even lower price, he called to offer to call the store himself and negotiate because he knew how much it upset me. I was grateful, and he agreed, but there were no such dish washers. He gave me the best advice he could and I went into the store to pick a model myself.
I called him afterwards to tell him what I picked. He told me he was proud of me. Just now he texted me to tell me he just told my grandma how proud of me he was — because of the dish washer.
Now. I don’t need him to go overboard about being proud of me doing simple things that I should be doing. But I think he’s starting to get it.
Have you seen Teaching Tolerance? It’s run by the southern poverty law center and they have PD, lesson plans and free resources for all grade levels, including pre-k. I’ve used it and like it.
I’m very familiar with Teaching Tolerance and have attended a couple events they have put on. I’ve used some of their stuff when I taught older grades, but wasn’t aware they had Pre-K stuff. I’m looking it up right now.
So I've tried to write this post about being a teacher and my reactions/response to Ferguson about 15 times. Each time I do, it just comes across wrong to me. So I'm going to try to really boil it down.
Things I do well:
finding diverse books especially books with characters that are of the same culture/race as my students
I stayed after school with a former student who is often categorized as an angry black kid (but has a lot to be angry about and is actually an awesome kid) when his ride didn’t show. I stood up for him. Latino Police Officer was a total jerk to him and made fun of him for not knowing his dad’s phone number. I calmed the kid down and had him stand up for himself once he was calm. Police officer looked pretty embarrassed when the kid said the reason why he didn’t know the number was because they kept getting the account cut off and new numbers so frequently (common with families that don’t have a lot of money).
Trying to learn Spanish and use it with my Spanish-speaking parents.
Writing letters to representatives on topics such as stand your ground and militarization of police
Encouraging my admin to hire people of color
Respecting parents’ decisions to opt out of the sheriff program that finger prints children to make identification papers if the child ever goes missing
Things I could do better:
be more involved politically - more letters, phone calls, letters to the editor
be a better listener
read more on race-related topics
donate to organizations that support equal rights
I do stand up to white people making racist comments, but I could be better prepared for when it happens… I mostly just see red and my heart starts beating really fast
expose students to people from their race in different professions ie: field trips, speakers, and books
stand against trends like an alarming rate of referrals for black boys within the scope of education
get more books reflecting Hatian culture or characters
Questions I have as an educator (some are really just more frustrations than real questions):
In relation to the police, I teach pre-k. We usually teach our students that police are there to help. How do I continue to tell them that considering current events? I feel like a little bit of a liar.
As a white teacher of an entire class of students that are black or latino, what am I blind to that I should a) be aware of or b) be doing?
What can I do better in relation to my students’ parents?
What are the best ways to teach tolerance at a young age (we teach Conscious Discipline and the Hands are not for Hitting Series and I try to do it during teachable moments, but I feel like there could be more)
I’d love to hear your reactions as educators. Anyone’s ideas or suggestions are also welcome.
American kids are getting ready to head back to school. But the schools they’re heading back to differ dramatically by family income.
Which helps explain the growing achievement gap between lower and higher-income children.
Thirty years ago, the average gap on SAT-type tests between children of families in the richest 10 percent and bottom 10 percent was about 90 points on an 800-point scale. Today it’s 125 points.
The gap in the mathematical abilities of American kids, by income, is one of widest among the 65 countries participating in the Program for International Student Achievement.
On their reading skills, children from high-income families score 110 points higher, on average, than those from poor families. This is about the same disparity that exists between average test scores in the United States as a whole and Tunisia.
The achievement gap between poor kids and wealthy kids isn’t mainly about race. In fact, the racial achievement gap has been narrowing.
It’s a reflection of the nation’s widening gulf between poor and wealthy families. And also about how schools in poor and rich communities are financed, and the nation’s increasing residential segregation by income.
According to the Pew Research Center’s analysis of 2010 census tract and household income data, residential segregation by income has increased during the past three decades across the United States and in 27 of the nation’s 30 largest major metropolitan areas.
This matters, because a large portion of the money to support public schools comes from local property taxes. The federal government provides only about 14 percent of all funding, and the states provide 44 percent, on average. The rest, roughly 42 percent, is raised locally.
Most states do try to give more money to poor districts, but most states cut way back on their spending during the recession and haven’t nearly made up for the cutbacks.
Meanwhile, many of the nation’s local real estate markets remain weak, especially in lower-income communities. So local tax revenues are down.
As we segregate by income into different communities, schools in lower-income areas have fewer resources than ever.
The result is widening disparities in funding per pupil, to the direct disadvantage of poor kids.
The wealthiest highest-spending districts are now providing about twice as much funding per student as are the lowest-spending districts, according to a federal advisory commission report. In some states, such as California, the ratio is more than three to one.
What are called a “public schools” in many of America’s wealthy communities aren’t really “public” at all. In effect, they’re private schools, whose tuition is hidden away in the purchase price of upscale homes there, and in the corresponding property taxes.
Even where courts have requiring richer school districts to subsidize poorer ones, large inequalities remain.
Rather than pay extra taxes that would go to poorer districts, many parents in upscale communities have quietly shifted their financial support to tax-deductible “parent’s foundations” designed to enhance their own schools.
About 12 percent of the more than 14,000 school districts across America are funded in part by such foundations. They’re paying for everything from a new school auditorium (Bowie, Maryland) to a high-tech weather station and language-arts program (Newton, MA).
“Parents’ foundations,” observed the Wall Street Journal, “are visible evidence of parents’ efforts to reconnect their money to their kids.” And not, it should have been noted, to kids in another community, who are likely to be poorer.
As a result of all this, the United States is one of only three, out of 34 advanced nations surveyed by the OECD, whose schools serving higher-income children have more funding per pupil and lower student-teacher ratios than do schools serving poor students (the two others are Turkey and Israel).
Other advanced nations do it differently. Their national governments provide 54 percent of funding, on average, and local taxes account for less than half the portion they do in America. And they target a disproportionate share of national funding to poorer communities.
As Andreas Schleicher, who runs the OECD’s international education assessments, told the New York Times, “the vast majority of OECD countries either invest equally into every student or disproportionately more into disadvantaged students. The U.S. is one of the few countries doing the opposite.”
Money isn’t everything, obviously. But how can we pretend it doesn’t count? Money buys the most experienced teachers, less-crowded classrooms, high-quality teaching materials, and after-school programs.
Yet we seem to be doing everything except getting more money to the schools that most need it.
We’re requiring all schools meet high standards, requiring students to take more and more tests, and judging teachers by their students’ test scores.
But until we recognize we’re systematically hobbling schools serving disadvantaged kids, we’re unlikely to make much headway.
I have never taught art before and only have an hour and ten minutes a week to do so this year. I’m teaching fifth grade to a group of kids who love art and want this time to engaging for them, but I have no idea where to start. Do you have any resources you can share to help me out? Google hasn’t been very helpful. Thanks for any help you can give!
“And there it is. A nearly all-white crowd chanting to a nearly all-black crowd, “Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!” Contemporary racism encapsulated by an attempt to package it as support for the police, exposed by calls to shoot black men.
As the new school year approaches, teachers know that their students may have regressed over the summer. But one program has made strides in preventing summer learning loss by enlisting parents as partners to help teach children. Special correspondent for education John Merrow reports on Springboard Collaborative, a non-profit organization that makes parents and teachers into partners. Continue reading →
Guys- this year my classroom has…nothing. Nothing to make it special. I am spread very thin financially right now and cannot afford to spend my own money on classroom decor and furnishings. Over the past few years I have built up my classroom library and established reading workshop in my classroom, but I need some furniture.
All of my rugs and chairs have either broke or become disheveled. Having a warm, comforting environment is so important for Reading Workshop. Please consider donating to my Donors Choose project to help furnish my classroom to enhance the Reading Workshop experience.
I know not everybody can contribute but if anyone can, I would be so incredibly grateful. Five dollars would be an amazing donation— for real. It is so hard to make reading a habit for 7th graders— but having a special, comfortable reading space in the classroom absolutely will help make it possible!