- 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 3/18 – 3/22
Educators can be some of the most rigid people in a school. Many educators believe that the schoolhouse is simply for kids to come prepared to learn and that they should only do just that; students are to be well behaved, fed, rested and prepared to learn. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. It doesn't matter where you teach: inner-city, urban, suburban or rural… kids come into school with problems. They always have. Many parents, whether they be poor, wealthy or middle class are concerned with making money, paying bill, making ends meet or accumulating material possessions; that can take priority over parenting – in some cases, parents believe that is parenting. Some teachers are the same way; teaching is a means to an end… it is not a vocation; it is simply a job to accumulate money for many of those same purposes.
Many adults are hurt; many adults are in pain due to emotional scars due to their history throughout their upbringing – both adolescence and in teenage years, and we adults create children seek to raise and educate children as hurt and scarred people. How do we expect children to be their best selves when we, the adults, aren't our best selves? There is too much blame placed on kids and too much blame deflected from us, the adults. When students get in trouble and make poor decisions, we are quick to judge them and absolve ourselves and wonder where such children go wrong… never do we ask where we, the community of parents and adults, have gone wrong.
Moment of the Week
While on lunch duty this week, one of my students asked me a question, “Mr. Miller, what is the best way to give someone bad news?” I said that I wasn't sure and that it depended on how bad the news was. I then asked how bad the news was and my student answered by saying, “on a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 9.” I then asked her if she was pregnant. The answer was yes. She told me who the father was, the circumstances that surrounded how it happened; her journey to realizing that she was pregnant, her telling her sisters and how she had her abortion scheduled for this Saturday. She was told by her sisters that she had to let her mother know or else they were going to tell her. I asked her if she was okay with having the abortion and she said, yes. I then asked her again and she then told me that she wasn't sure. She said that the father said that it’s whatever she wants to do – that is code for I want you to make the decision to get the abortion, but I want you to get it either way. I was sad in my spirit because another child was pregnant, she is 16, and another life will be lost. My student then told me that her mother had her abortion at 16… indeed a cycle had been formed. When I went to discuss it with a friend and colleague of mine, he informed me that another one of our kids, she’s 17, was pregnant. She was involved with a young man who was recently arrested for selling drugs and he’ll be in jail for a very long time because of it. Now she’s and her baby, whom she has elected to keep, is going to be without a father and support… indeed a cycle is continuing.
Lesson of the Week
A kid getting pregnant in school is not a new phenomenon, but it is reminder that these things happen not necessarily because girls are fast and boys have sex on the brain constantly. My 16 year old student sought sex out to be comforted; she was thrown out of her house by her mother and she was living with her father, who may not have been as focused on his daughter as he should have been (I am not judging, just stating my opinion). My 17 year old student sought a relationship with a guy who clearly wasn't the best match for her due to his “occupation” because, from what I know of her, her father is in and out of her life and his lack of consistency has done damage to her. There are students who act out in school and have discipline issues because of things that happen at home; whether it is domestic violence or a parent is working too much. There are kids who simply cannot focus in school because they don’t get enough sleep or enough quality meals that assure them to be their best while in school. We must be more mindful and observant when we notice that our students are not their best selves both academically and personally.
We've got to collectively, parents and educators, realize that their problems are our problems; some of which are of our creation whether immediate or over time. Our students are people first… real people with real issues. We cannot assume that they come to us ready to learn. Most times, they come ready to survive and so we must meet the needs of our kids. Once we meet their needs, we can begin to help them build their lives through the power of education. Also, when we understand who we are, we can begin to help students understand who they are. Study your students… learn them and research them and begin to tailor your program and philosophy of instruction to their needs and to their preparation for life… their lives, our lives, and the life of this great nation indeed depend upon it.