Once upon a time I had a former colleague that was caught having sexual relations with a student.
She persuaded his mom to allow her to tutor him. He was behind in his academics. She served two years.
I have watched many of my Black boys fall behind. I saw this with my own son. I remember sending emails in the past and even this year asking for advice and teachers ignore.
Most of my Black boys have always been behind academically. One of the infamous responses is because they feel as if they are invisible.
Over the last few weeks I read journals and graded assignments and I noticed something… I noticed that certain students have very high gpa’s … I noticed that the work that produced is not of quality. I noticed one student plagiarize. They copied a document and placed it in their google document (google lets you see it all) and he wrote out his summary using the thesaurus.
His grades were changed along with every other child. I wondered … how different this student really was from those black and brown students that I have taught in the past… OH…. they have parents who will fight and complain and possible intimidate teachers…. I don’t know…or administrators…
But what I have noticed after reading through papers for over 15 years is the educational gap is not going to change because the system is jacked… we have grade conscious students and parents who just think their kids are the smartest things ever…🙄
We don’t give those students a chance. And then we have parents who have been at a loss and can’t do anything to help their child because their child is already deemed as… well a failure….
I shared yesterday and I’ll share again, after working in several states and another country in the field of education, this thing called life sets our students up… for
F A I L U R E
And then we have…. those educators who know change is needed … and are extremely scared to be true to their culture…
I have been to prisons. I have sent my son to the juvenile detention center with his dad. I have been in courtrooms where young black boys were not guilty, but because their word was against someone who was deemed superior (maybe the hairstyles….probably skin color).
I also remember jury duty where I was one of three blacks. Oh!!!! I will never forget the convo… the jury was hung because myself and another woman (Black Woman) were unafraid to stand up for that young boy.
I recall the Black Male who was ready to get home to his family, and didn’t want to miss anymore time from his high profile job whisper to us to just say guilty… really….
Oh I will never forget the comments. I actually remember them reference his tone and how scary it was. I recall how he was a “bully” to the white Woman that he supposedly attacked. They never listened to his side until he took the stand. And as a law student at that time, I know his attorney probably begged him not to take the stand, but his story was believable to me.
It was a cultural thing. His voice was firm. He had never had any other charges. He was young and his life was about to be over because of ….that young white girl and the fact that the black man wanted to go home to his family and didn’t want to stay any longer….
We stayed in that room for three days… I did not budge… and I would not go back to change my mind.
I remember picking up coffee one day. As soon as I walked out of the 7-Eleven, a Black unkept male asked if he could have it. Without hesitation I gave it to him.
A few blocks later, I picked up a coffee from Dunkin Donuts. The difference was, I had to pay for that coffee. The first was free because of the promotion.
A few days later I was heading home. A man approached me. He kept saying he knew me and while I was almost a little apprehensive about him walking with me at night; in a pretty dim area, I kept walking and talking to him.
A few blocks into the walk, he said… “I GOT IT!!! You gave me the coffee that day.”
He shared that he had just gotten out of prison. He shared his story of what happened earlier. He was headed to an interview and had not eaten, was nervous, and had just got out of prison. I saw him once more and I asked how it was going and he told me a story of how I reminded him of a past individual he once knew.
It was very cold on this day. I was actually freezing. But I stood and listened. Eventually we walked towards a store because he noticed I was cold…freezing.
I forgot about this story until a moment… he said a black woman from high school made a huge impact on him. She wasn’t his teacher (because he said he never had a black teacher ) but she broke him down. She told him he needed to listen because the streets would get him… and they did get him… and he said if only he would have listened. He had no true black male mentors. He was about 50 years old. He said even now many of the black males he knows don’t help….
He said they pretend, but they don’t really “give a damn about the brothers..”
I can’t speak on behalf of all Black men, because I don’t know them all, but those men in my immediate circle are those that help… and uplift… and are never afraid to speak up…
We all have power to help each other..
And we all have our own ways to do so…
One of the many Black motivational speakers that come to mind is Eric Thomas… I remember watching one where he yelled at a student…
Will you be the one to motivate and give honest feedback or the one that will allow a student to fall behind…
“I’m picking on you!” And last night I hugged several of those boys I picked on last year… and they are graduating… and they all told me they needed those 20 minute lectures…. their parents (check out the one ☝️ below… she calls me to “fuss” at “our baby”. She gives me permission and the others all have parents that have sat in meetings with me fussing..
it’s part of my culture…#TheOneThatCares
If you are a parent or a teacher and have never passionately shared your thoughts with a child to help push them….🤔 I would love to know your “secret.”