Sarah Sansbury is a middle and high school English teacher in
Georgia. She graduated from the Honors Program at Augusta State University with
a bachelor's degree in English education and later completed her master's in curriculum
My 4-year-old daughter Sophia was confused. She looked to me for an answer. “Greyson's not black,” she said. “Her skin is brown.” This was the first time I had heard my daughter bring up the issue of race or skin color.
Paulina walked slowly down the hall, her gait marked by the waddle of many pregnant mothers. As she came closer, you could see her belly, slightly swollen. You felt her discomfort as she squeezed into her desk. Five months in, she hadn't seen a doctor or taken any vitamins. The baby's father wasn't in the picture. There were rumors of rape. Her parents had all but disowned her. What role should the school play in the life of a teenage mom? How can we help?
"When you went downtown, did you see a hobo?" The tone was mocking with a giggle at the end. I cringed. Turning around, I saw one of my students: a young girl with freckles and a polka dot bow in her hair. She was a student who always had a smile to share, was the first to offer an extra pencil if anyone lacked and was always willing to help others. The callousness of her remark was out of character. I wondered if she was repeating something that someone else had said. Perhaps she just thought hobo was a funny word.
“To err is human” but to reflect is divine. Teachers are human. We get frustrated, lose our tempers, make bad judgment calls and sometimes wish for a do-over button. Unfortunately, there isn't a magical reset button—or is there? Being an effective, successful teacher does not mean you never make mistakes. It just means we need to learn from them.
"It's not fair!” Full of angst and rebellion, the teenage delinquent, arms crossed, leans against a concrete wall with a surly look. Heavy eyes searing under a furled brow, lips pursed in a snarl. This stereotypical portrayal of teenagers is ubiquitous in media and seems to represent society's general opinion of this age group. Unfortunately, society doesn’t have the full picture here.