- Why The Fight Against Critical Race Theory is Rooted In America History - June 11, 2021
- Got Discipline? (Charter School Diaries) - January 28, 2014
- Educators Must Avoid Isolation (Charter School Diaries) - October 28, 2013
- Parents, Teachers, and Conflicts of Interest (Charter School Diaries #28) - October 14, 2013
- Administrative Frankensteins (Charter School Diaries) - September 30, 2013
- New Year, Same Song (Charter School Diaries) - September 23, 2013
- Graduation! (Charter School Diaries #25) - July 15, 2013
- Teacher Turnover (Charter School Diaries #24) - July 8, 2013
- The Masses, the Multitude and the Disciples (Charter School Diaries #23) - July 1, 2013
- Schools and Prisons Are About Solving a Labor Problem - June 14, 2013
Week 4/29 – 5/3
I am a loner at work… well, maybe it is better said that I don’t go out of my way to be seen. I really just keep to myself; chalk that up to the fact that I am an only child. I really don’t want to be bothered with people – the adults and of course some of the children. That is completely contrary to the job of an educator, but I am very guarded. It’s not that there are people at my job that I don’t like, but I just really don’t care for getting engaged in personal relationships, I am like that everywhere that I work. To be like that is very difficult when you are the only person of your kind in a given work situation… I am an African American male; some people instantly gravitate to me because of that and the fact that I am a professional who has a job and some level of intelligence – that’s okay I suppose. Then there are others who tend to keep their distance because I am the young Black male and they are not sure how to deal with me; I have no issues with those people because they leave me alone. It’s the folks who gravitate to me and feel that every time they see me that we need to chat; those are the folks that I am not sure how to handle, much less know how to keep from being annoyed by them. One of those people is a lady who, by her own admission, has been around the classroom before. If you'd seen her interact with kids, however, you wouldn't know it. She substitutes in our district, and somehow, the kids she subs always talk about me to her. Thus, she had to find out who I was and since she’s found me, she been the fly that I can’t swat from my ear.
Moment of the Week
I don’t even know this woman’s name at this precise moment, but she always seems to find me. It is 1st period on Monday morning and I am in a classroom about to teach when I notice that this woman is substituting in the room right next door to me. She noticed me of course. Long story short, I was recently published in a book about Black male teachers and she wanted a copy of the chapter that I contributed. Rather than send a kid in my room to give me her email address, she comes in herself. She interrupts my class, who is taking a quiz, and she asks me if she can give me her email address. I have the kids taking a quiz in groups of two, and she asks me why I had two students in particular working together and I told her that they were fine and that I had it under control. She then proceeds to ask me, in a serious tone, was I smoking something? She specifically said, “I don’t mean any harm, but are you smoking something?” Needless to say, I was floored. My classroom erupts in laughter, not at me, but rather at her eccentricity and her out of line question. She screwed up my class for the rest of the period – they were riled up by her presence and her questioning. I could have cussed her out at that moment. I saw her after that class as I was preparing to teach another and she came and apologized to me… probably because she knew that she was out of line. I calmly told her that she disrupted my class and that I didn't appreciate it. She then told me that she owed me… But here is the thing; I don’t want any favors from her.
Lesson of the Week
… I learned, better yet, I was reminded, that at the end of the day, no matter how pissed you get (and I was pissed), the kids are always watching our every move. Those students – my babies – were watching to see how I was going to react and thankfully, I held my composure and played it cool. Although I was mad, I dealt with things as they should have been and I looked no worse for wear. I also did not burn a bridge with this eccentric substitute. She may be a vessel used to my benefit one day and I cannot let my pride get in the middle of that, but I digress. We teach the students that they must be mindful of their behavior. Where we fail is when we’re tested and display the sorts of behaviors that we do not want our students to display. Kids learn from our teaching but they learn more by our actions. IF we want our students to be good citizens, in addition to passing the state tests (that is another conversation for another day), we’ve got to model good behavior. Will kids be kids in school, of course they will, but we must be consistently cordial and respectful in our words and actions. That substituted tested me and I think I did okay. I just hope my students were taking notes.