A place for educators to find thought-provoking news, conversation and support for those who care about diversity, equal opportunity and respect for differences in schools
I don’t remember exactly what instigated it, but something had made Cashanda mad. She positioned herself—and her desk—right smack in front of the board. She was defiant. Her physical placement made it impossible to continue my lesson.
With mainstream media campaigns like It Gets Better and social media efforts to curtail harassment, how is it that another 14-year-old young gay man took his own life? Well, bullies are loud and persistent, and they are still everywhere.
I hear it now and then. It invariably comes after a long day in an elementary school classroom, a day that seems like a year.
"If I didn't have [student’s name], I could teach my class!"
You know the children who fill in the blank. They're the ones who stand when you ask them to sit, talk when you ask for silence and play when you need them to work.
Marvin is one of those children. He is 9 years old.
The whine of the projector subsides. Someone clicks on the lights. As the professor asks for commentary, the rapid raising of hands signifies an eagerness to respond. I remain still. Listening to my peer’s criticism of the Appalachian people featured in the made-for-TV special, I am humiliated.
Poet Adrienne Rich once asked:
How can we connect the process of learning to write well with [a] student’s own reality, and not simply teach her/him how to write acceptable lies in standard English?
The question appeared in her 1979 essay, “Taking Women Students Seriously.” Last week, Adrienne Rich passed away, leaving today’s educators to ponder alone a question that remains as pertinent as ever.
Recently I suspended a seventh-grade boy for publicly calling his former girlfriend a “slut” and a “whore.” Our rules on slurs are clear. But as I learned again, talking about something in class doesn’t always affect student behavior, especially if the unwanted behavior isn’t corrected or condemned outside of the classroom.
What do you do with a teacher who provides students with authentic learning opportunities? A teacher who invests her own resources to support students? A teacher who was voted Teacher of the Year two of the last three years?
If you’re Superintendent Jacqueline Cassell at the Pontiac Academy for Excellence Middle School in Pontiac, Mich., you fire her.
A recent issue of Teaching Tolerance magazine addressed two subjects that I see converging in news stories from around the country – intolerant attitudes toward students who are atheist and teachers using their positions to bully students.