Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Teachers and Schools Students Deserve #SOL16 March 3, 2016

Thanks for joining me for the 2016 Slice of Life Story Challenge sponsored by the team at
TWO WRITING TEACHERS.  Check out more slices here. 
"I didn't deserve a teacher as good as you." That's the message in a text I received from a student in my dual credit Communication class the day after the trimester ended. 

The message touches, shocks, and enrages me. The subtext of such a text are some questions: "What kind of teachers do students deserve?" "What kinds of teachers do students perceive us to be?" "Why don't students see themselves as deserving of excellent teachers?"

Should we have one standard for some students and another standard for others? Should schools operate on a sliding scale that determines student and teacher placement in terms of excellence? Most troubling to me: What kind of teacher does my student think he deserves? 

I texted back: "Every student deserves hard-working, amazing teachers." 

That bears repeating: EVERY STUDENT DESERVES HARD-WORKING, AMAZING TEACHERS. Period. End of story. 

As it happens, my student's question came the day Kelley Williams-Bolar's story cycled back through my FB feed. Bolar is the Ohio mom jailed for sending her children to a neighboring school district and using her father's address as her family's. 

That Bolar's children did not have the option of attending a neighborhood school she, as a parent, judged as good as the one in her father's home district represents a national scourge. Bolar believes her arrest was racially motivated, and it's hard to argue with her given that poor, minority students disproportionately attend crumbling, resource challenged districts, and these districts have higher teacher turnover than their suburban counterparts given the dire working conditions. 

To his credit, Ohio Governor Kasich reduced Bolar's sentence, but poor students across our nation continue living their school days in SEPARATE and UNEQUAL school districts. They are most likely to have TFA poorly trained teachers, new teachers who struggle to live in poverty themselves. 

Dedicated teachers who have given their lives to serving poor students and working in blighted conditions rarely get the accolades and recognition they deserve. They, as their students, are treated as separate and unequal. I admire them and their commitment to teaching. 

When I began teaching, I set a standard for myself: To be the kind of teacher I'd like to have and that I'd want my children to have. That's what every student deserves. I often fail to teach to my own standard, but in 35 years teaching, I haven't forgotten my mandate to myself.

Every student deserves excellent school facilities. 
Every student deserves sufficient school supplies. 
Every student deserves teachers they want to text, "Thank you for being the good teacher I deserve." 

Period. 

10 comments:

  1. Your post fits right in with what I am writing about today...I teach a credit recovery English class of 5 students. They are bright, passionate, and can teach me a few things. How in the world did they fail English. Sadly, I don't think they had the teachers they deserved.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well said . . . well said! Making a difference one student at a time which is obviously what you are doing as evident from the text. That's a keeper!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow! How sad. The text, his thinking, and the news story.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is my favorite post of the day. What an important set of questions and your response is spot on! I know so many amazing teachers that are amazing despite the obstacles they face. Their students, and yours, are fortunate. The inequality in education is one of the elephants in the room.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is my favorite post of the day. What an important set of questions and your response is spot on! I know so many amazing teachers that are amazing despite the obstacles they face. Their students, and yours, are fortunate. The inequality in education is one of the elephants in the room.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh so true about ALL students deserving good, enthusiastic and caring teachers and as we know they pay back so much when this is what they receive. A super blog post again :)
    Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is amazing, Glenda. You are amazing. I love what you said from start to finish, but especially the promise to be the kind of teacher you would want your children to have. I have to admit it took me a while to get there myself as an educator, but your promise is one I made to myself and that I try every day to live out.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh, Glenda, you got me with this one. I made the same committement you did, but maybe it took me longer to make it. This is my seventh year in a high-need school-- everyday I think about how these kids deserve GREAT teachers. And I wonder if everyone is up to the challenge (terrible thought). You rock. Keep on! I know you will continue the good work you have started.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is great! I love that there are others out there who still believe that students DO deserve a teacher who is plugged in, willing to learn, and looks out for the students' best interest! We are in this race together, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is great! I love that there are others out there who still believe that students DO deserve a teacher who is plugged in, willing to learn, and looks out for the students' best interest! We are in this race together, my friend!

    ReplyDelete