When I became a mother everybody laughed and joked with me that babies don't come with instruction manuals. And yet, I found that raising a baby was not quite so hard as everybody made out. A lot of it was intuition. A lot of it was talking to other people, watching other parents, making mistakes, correcting...
Sadly, what I find much more difficult is dealing with students. At least, on the human level, not the professional one. I had five years of instruction manuals before ever setting foot in a classroom. And since then, nine more years with one on one relationships, conferences, meetings, more instruction manuals... and yet, certain issues were never addressed in any of those books or meetings. Or, if they were, I didn't get the lesson.
The issue of racism was certainly addressed. At least in the historical context. And in the context of this is unjust. We cannot allow bully students to use race as weapon. But, I can't remember anybody ever sitting down with us and levelling with us about how to talk to students about racism. Nobody ever talked to me about how to walk the tightrope between acknowledging injustices and cultural differences without watering down expectations and crippling my students through accomodations.
How exactly do I even the playing field, and give my students all the tools they need to succeed in life without furthering the injustices already there?
And how do I do all of that while still addressing the curriculum? Do I put the Spanish on hold to discuss racial tension in the classroom? Do I reprimand the offending student and continue with the lesson thus holding everyone to the same high standards?
1 day ago