Drinking the Kool-Aid

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 04 2011


Three important things:

  1. Today, my Fake ESL kid copied the notes AND did the examples and checks AND plotted points. I didn’t get nearly excited enough at the time, so I’m bringing him a candy bar tomorrow.
  2. I’ve decided that even if none of my other kids pass, I’ll be happy if I can just get my Brat to pass and see that she’s capable of something.
  3. I called home today for my Irlen Girl and, yet again, had a parent offer to come up to the school to meet with me. I have a message from another parent wanting to know what she can do to help her daughter make up work from being sick as often as she has. I talk to two sets of parents almost weekly, and never hear anything but “what can we do to help at home?” … I just get tired of people telling me my kids are destined to failure because of their parents.

Two funny things:

  1. My Confused Kid screeches at me during 2nd period, “MISS, you’re impersonating my invasion!” … he meant to say ‘invading my personal space.’
  2. Helping one of my neighbor’s kids after school with reciprocals, I ask “So what is 6 if I flip it?”  He responds: “… 9?”

One thing to ponder:

I don’t think it’s okay to laugh when my black kids say things like “it’s because I’m black, isn’t it?” or “Ew, I don’t want to sit next to him. He’s black!” But they’re so ridiculous that sometimes I do. What kind of message am I sending? Is this is a big deal, or not a big deal?

One Response

  1. adrilicious

    Kids say the darndest things! Impersonating my invasion, lol. In other news; I was thinking about the last question you posted and I can only respond from a very personal place: yea it’s funny. My family and I forever makes jokes about racism, it’s just to painful to take on with seriousness 24/7. We always joke, for example, about how we’ll never be hostages (case in point: Iran Contra – they let all the black people go realizing they weren’t the ideal bargaining chips). Before I digress, my point is this: it reads to me like and in-group joke. You get it (which says a lot about you) and you’re aware of the deep pain that it reflects. If you’re in the struggle, and you can get a second to laugh do it. It’s funny anyway to see things flipped on their head, it shows how silly they are in the first place.

    With that longwinded statement out of the way – it’s also a teachable moment. Have a conversation about why that’s funny. It makes it clear how prejudice is arbitrary. But don’t worry about using it to teach if you’re just not feeling like you can for whatever reason – your students, on some level, already know.

    I should note that I’m really talking about when students are joking, not when they’ve actually internalized racism and act on it. So making fun of a dark skinned kid is a lot different than joking about your friend not sitting next to you because you’re black. Both are defense mechanism, one acquieses and participates in racism and the other sublty mocks it. It’s okay to name the former unnacceptable while allowing students to explore the latter.

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