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1-Diversity…HA!

27 Mar

Today we took ALL the 10th Graders into the cafeteria to prepare them for the state writing test. HA!

Today was the clusterfuck of ALL clusterfucks! HA!

Cluster Fuck

1) I have a student who INSISTS on referring to me as “Baby Girl.” Albeit, he views it as a term of endearment in his community/neighborhood, I have MANY issues with this. I am his teacher, not his peer/girlfriend/”bust it” baby/baby mama or whom ever he has mistaken me for AND…I am FIFTEEN years his SENIOR!!!!!!! HA!

2) A student who was removed from the school after threatening to “blow the school up” (in handcuffs no less), joined us in the cafeteria for writing test prep. HA!

3) The woman who was sent from the county to administer the test prep “session,” told my 10th Graders that an anecdote is a short story you tell the listener/reader to introduce your topic. That part was GREAT!!!! The enunciation….OMG….an entirely different story…..her version of anecdote sounded like so …”anedote“….which REALLY sounded like “antidote”….WHEW!

Okay…I’m still on #3 folks, but I need a new paragraph. So, this lady….the Antidote Lady….is a relic of the education system. She believes in the “L” word…LECTURING! My students were bored, bored, bored…like practically DROOLING bored…and suddenly I found myself within the scene of Ferris Buellar’s Day Off…”Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?” HA!

4) Diversity…oh boy…People, “we” are in need of a wake-up call! The fiasco I have been dealing with in trying to prepare students for the state writing test has depressed me. It all started with the practice writing prompt…

The writing prompts we have been using are “retired” state writing test prompts…I chose the following to use over our past two-day crash collision course.

Writing Prompt in a Nutshell: Write a plan to read to your peers about ways to understand and appreciate diversity among American people.

…So I was thinking…this should be a FUN topic…INTERESTING even! Not a pork belly of a chance! I was nonplussed! The demographic of my students (the ENTIRE school) is 99% African-American…the faculty as well. However, I may as well have been asking my students to write an essay on Biochemical Warfare, Stalin, Open-Heart Surgery, or Aerodynamic Engineering! They couldn’t think of anything. They hemmed. They hawed. They made me want to commit MANY of the “-cides” (homo-, sui-, and geno-)…OMG! How does a minority not know about DIVERSITY? Are you kidding me?

And that’s when it hit me! These kids don’t get “out” much. They don’t appreciate diversity because they are NOT diverse. In their world (and they don’t leave that world), they are not the minority…they are the majority, and anything that is different must die. Oh, I know you’re thinking that I am exaggerating…I wish I were! During the first week of school, my students promptly dug deeply into the roots of my cultural heritage. They wanted to know why I LOOK black, but SOUND white (whatever THAT means)…?

The fact that I SOUND white perturbed them to no end…I once had a student ask, “Are you going to talk like that for the rest of the year?” “Like what?” “Like a white woman,” she responded. The class fell apart at the seams from the waves of laughter that erupted throughout the room. She…THEY…thought that was funny. I felt sorry for them all because they could not recognize that I was speaking the type of English that the rest of the world speaks…the “REAL” world…the working, professional world! Also, I did not look black enough. My hair texture was of major concern to them, and once my West Indian heritage was brought forth, I received accusatory claims of “No wonder!”…I suppose to explain away my “lack” of blackness.

I guess I should not have selected that prompt for my students!

When I look at my students, I value my upbringing all the more. I lived in a DIVERSE city and had access to friends of various races, cultures, genders, and religious affiliations. I revel in the fact that I have never pigeon-holed myself to the types of music I listen to, movies I watch, clothes I wear, and company I keep. If I received that prompt when I was in high school, I know that I would have aced it! HA!

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12 Comments

Posted by on March 27, 2008 in Work

 

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12 responses to “1-Diversity…HA!

  1. mama jane

    March 28, 2008 at 3:53 am

    Read to them or have them read with you – Obama’s speech in Phladelphia on appreciating diversity and seeing both sides of an issue.

     
  2. Hotness Von Lictencracker

    March 28, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Sure, that’s why they are students; they’re naive.

    What your story really points out well isn’t the audacity of YOUTH, but really the audacity of the UNCOUTH. (Shout out to mama jane — couldn’t agree more re: Obama’s speech as a resource.)

    If these very same questions were posed to you without all of the attitude, like say instead of “Ms. Friendly, how come you look like a hot Aunt Jemima but you talk like you own the plantation?” you got “Ms. friendly, you like me but you don’t talk like anyone I know?” then you could say “Because I was raised by Oprah”. And when they stopped laughing you would get into your next lesson plan: “Intelligence and Heritage: friends or enemies?”

    But that pre-supposes that any of them are actually interested in the answers. Which, of course, brings us to the audacity of HOPE…

    By the way, Aunt Jemima fine. She fine!

     
  3. Pretty Boy Skout

    March 29, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    Your students need a wake-up call. I am not sure what will do it for them. After all the problems in our world from the Iraq war to Jena 6, you would think they would get a clue.

    Oh yeah, I am happy to represent Miami as well. I too understand though, how being an inner-city kid can give you an unfair view of the world. Many of these kids think that the world is the same everywhere and that only white people deserve the finer things like books, travel, and the English language (ebonics omitted). I feel sorry for them and I wish I had the opportunity to witness them in action with my own two eyes.

     
  4. Crouching Bride, Hidden Bridezilla

    April 1, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    I’m just tramalized by da whole sitiation!
    How frustrating, to say the least!
    If only there was a way to break through their pea headed minds. Unfortunately this is our future…how scary!
    P.S. I think Aunt Jemima is fine too…she’s bootylicious! But wait, wasn’t it only white children seated at the breakfast table who really saw Aunt Jemima come alive?

     
  5. Tracie Tee

    June 5, 2008 at 3:55 am

    Okay, I get your point, but guess what…rural white children would be just as culturally shocked by a Caucasian teacher with a dark complexion and thick, black curly hair and spoke with a rich Black voice. Remember, that it is not their fault for the lack of diversity, because they are children.

     
  6. msfriendly

    June 8, 2008 at 5:52 am

    Tracie Tee…No, I do not believe you get my point. My point is, as I stated in the blog article, that those particular students were exceedingly resistant to the acceptance of ANYTHING different from them.

    I did not teach “CHILDREN”…I taught young adults! These young adults I taught were intelligent enough to realize something was “different” and that they did NOT want to accept this different thing. CHILDREN are usually much more accepting.

    Also…I am not quite sure that I understand your comparison. I taught in a rural setting for many years and did not generate any type of alarm bells. I do not understand how a dark complected “Caucasian teacher” speaking with a “rich Black voice” (proper term here would be African-American Vernacular English…colors don’t have voices) has anything to do with what I posted. I am an African-American woman with a medium brown complexion…speaking the in which all members of my family speak!

    My point for this blog…not to BLAME people for what they do not have…but make the public aware of what happens when someone attempts to bridge the gap of that absentee quality! I was hired to TEACH! I do not judge or blame students for what they do not know…but when I teach…I EXPECT that they damn better well be trying to LEARN!!!! That is THEIR job!

    As a community, we need to care enough to take back education and take back our children and young adults…they are doomed! That’s what this blog is about!!!

     
  7. jazzy one

    February 2, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    HHMMMM………It’s so sad that you don’t realize how many people of all colors are reluctant to learn new things and be around different people. You shouldn’t be so mad about it. In fact I think you were the one who needed a wake up call. So what they’re young adults, the people who raised them our adults. No one is born knowing right from wrong, or even the definition of words such as diversity. You would be surprised by the lack of vocabulary across all cultures, even in colleges! Your blog was funny but at the same time I ended up feeling more sorry for your lack of accepting the students, then you having to deal with them. Get a grip lady!Somebody has to teach them, but obviously you were to weak.

     
    • msfriendly

      February 3, 2009 at 5:56 pm

      Jazzy One,

      Yes, I do realize that people of all colors are reluctant to learn new things…however…that is not what this blog is about. This blog is about inner-city teaching, and the frustrations of one teacher. This blog is also about illuminating the injustices that occur within the inner-city school systems (an allegory of sorts), at the hands of the system itself…and the illumination of the crippling mentality of a group of people who are destroying themselves.

      It’s too bad that you were only able to focus on me, instead of the underlying message I was conveying. I believe that you need to read the ENTIRE blog (especially Post #34) and take a walk in my shoes as an educator, before you cast the judgment of my weakness!

      That’s cute 😉

      Have you ever taught before? Inner-city?….hmmmmm…

      Yours In Weakness,
      Ms. Friendly

       
  8. Stariee 1

    April 4, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    I to some degree have to agree with Jazzy One. I have never taught but I did attende a inner city school, and it is all so sad looking back. there is no expectancy for the children, and in later years the young adults, and then adults! you go all the way through school knowing that each of your teachers expects you to be a failure! Often alot of us live up to those expectations! I can honestly say for me it was a teacher that caught my attention (with poetry none the less) and made me realize that I didnt have to be what everyone thought of me! This teacher that came into a school much like yours with waist long blonde curls and accepted our getto weaves ( we didnt have the colors back then!) and called our tat’s cool and never judged our lives outside of school. We were judged only by our work and our willingness to work. She afforded us room for error because she knew that we were never expected before her to try. The year ended and some of us tried and some of us continued on the path to nothingness. The point is that some were reached I never went on and won a Nobel Piece prize nor did I even become a great poet, But I did graduate from that inner city school! I went to trade school and kept in touch with her until she moved away and I relocated out of state. What I am trying to say is don’t take it personal those kids deal with things on a daily basis that most adults coldnt imagine. Some of the young adults are too far gone to help, but if you dont judge and think outside of the box you will reach the reachable! Isnt that why teachers teach anyway? 🙂

     
    • msfriendly

      April 5, 2010 at 4:46 pm

      @Stariee1 – You are absolutely right…it IS very sad. I think my problem was that I wanted to reach EVERYONE. I know that some students were feeling what I was trying to do. I am glad that you had a teacher who made a difference in your life. I am even more happy to hear that you continued your education after high school. Congratulations to you! You don’t need a Nobel Peace Prize top say that you beat the odds…that’s a big deal! 🙂

      Please, if you haven’t already, read the rest of my blog…thanks for stopping by!

       
  9. Gerry Heppell

    July 14, 2010 at 10:44 am

    I was navigating online for ideas on a new post to write upon and saw your site. Although I may agree with your ideas a little bit, I think I will write something that is somewhat at the underside of your article. I like your thoughts though and will write something that is very close to it .

     
    • msfriendly

      July 17, 2010 at 7:24 pm

      Gerry…Thank you for visiting my site. I will be interested to see what you come up with.

       

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