Black Education / Schools : Black teacher white student

Discussion in 'Black Education / Schools' started by Full Speed, Jul 4, 2010.

  1. Full Speed

    Full Speed Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Earlier this morning I was talking with a White co-worker whom I talk with frequently. She is the type of person who if it is on her mind, she can't stop it from coming out if she tried. Rather it is good, bad, or indifferent, she is going to say it. Because of that personality trait, I typically accept the way she tells a story is typically the way it happened.

    So any way, she was telling me about a few years ago her 4th grade son who had always gotten straight A's started getting straight F's and kept coming up with excuses why he didn't want to go to school. After a while of this, she called his teacher, who was Black and in her first year of teaching, to requested a meeting. During the discussion, the teacher indicated that her son had a smart mouth. She agreed that her son was smart mouth but that he had not had a bad problem with his previous teachers and especially not such a dramatic decline in his academic performance. The teacher said straight up "I just don't like him". They never got heated, but they agreed that they would request another class for him.

    She contacted the Assistant Principle that was also Black but they knew him very well and had dealt with him many times over the years to ask for a teacher change. He said he was unable to change teachers but that they would have another meeting between him, the teacher, her and her husband.

    Between that time and the meeting, she talked with her son more to demand that he not be a smart mouth and to ask his side of the story as to why they did not like each other. Her son told her that he could not understand his teacher most of the time so he often asked her to repeat herself, which irritated her. During the meeting, she told the teacher and the Assistant principle that she and instructed her son to be respectful but asked if the teacher could announciate more carefully. She said the teacher became outraged and called her son, her husband, and her racist. She said she did not like being called a racist but explained to the teacher that she was difficult to understand and that "We just ain't used to Ebonics". She said this really outraged the teacher who basically "went off". She said she looked at the AP said "Do you see what I mean, could you understand what she just said" The AP said "No, I am afraid not" The teacher then said "I can't believe this, you are Black, you are supposed to be on my side" to which he said "I am supposed to bring a resolution and mediate what is RIGHT".

    Since they still could not change classes they agreed that they would do the best the could to get along. Finish the school year and they would never have to see each other again.

    Two years later, her son shows up in class on the first day and guess who is there. She said her son came and told her about it and she called the AP. The AP said, lets give it a chance. If it doesn't work out, we will get him a new teacher, we are in a little better position to do that now. After a while, she had kind of forgotten about it because her son had not brought home any complaints. She decided to call the teacher and ask if her son had been respectful because she had instructed him to be and she had not heard anything either way. The teacher said "oooh, He is fine" So she then talked with her son. He said, "Mrs Web is my favorite teacher now". She said she talked back with the teacher to find out what had turned things around. She said the teacher told her that she was a new teacher then and had not learned how to better deal with smart mouth students. She said she is much more firm in dealing with the students now but able to demand and command respect from them. She said the teacher appologized for calling her a racist back then and said she really enjoys teaching her son.

    I thought it was an interesting story, so I shared.
     
  2. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Hmmm....Well, I find it interesting that this mother and the AP couldn't understand the teacher when she "went off" after being told, "We just don't understand Ebonics" but DID understand the teacher when she said, "The teacher then said "I can't believe this, you are Black, you are supposed to be on my side."------Hmmm.

    I, too, would have been offended by that statement.

    Not knowing ALL the sides to this story, I can only say that as a former educator, I know how administrators can and will cater to some parents, especially black administrators with white parents.

    I find it possible that the AP really did understand the teacher but only said he didn't to appease that parent.

    I also find it interesting that two years later, no mention was made about the son with ANY complaints about understanding the teacher's speech.---Hmmmm.

    Did her "Ebonics" lessen in that time? :?:
    Somehow, she learned how to "enunciate" her words better within that 2 years? :?:


    Did the son take a class on "Understanding Ebonics" in the interim, and so, could understand her better the 2nd time he had her class? :?:

    Hmmm. Yes, very interesting, that this same little boy from 2 years prior, the one with the SMART MOUTH, had NO comprehension problems with this SAME teacher's speech.

    However, I do commend that teacher for owning her in-experience as a factor in the previous clash.


    BUT I WOULDNA APOLOGIZED FOR JACK! :whip:

    (Did the mother ever ONCE need to ask the teacher to repeat herself during those phone calls??) :?:

    Yes, very interesting, indeed.
     
  3. Full Speed

    Full Speed Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I didn't question or challenge her story at all, I just listened. I believe her discription of it is the way it occured in HER perspective. I don't know the AP nor the teacher so I can't really comment on them. As far as the statement about Ebonics, It would have been hard to not be offended by it, but like I said, this lady makes no attempt to be politically correct, if it is on her mind, it comes out of her mouth. That goes for any subject.

    Other than what was mentioned, I am not sure how so much could change over a period of two years that this boy could now consider her his favorite teacher and they now get along great. That is what is interesting to me.

    She did indicate that her son had matured a bit between 4th and 6th grade and that the teacher said basically the same.

    As far as Ebonics, I had an experience that was funny, but slightly embarrassing. When I first moved to this area, I was on a patient transport with two White female nurses. When we completed the transfer we decided to grab a quick bite to eat before the returning. I was the last to order my food so they were both standing to my side as I placed my order. The cashier, who was Black, asked me something concerning my order. I asked her to repeat it. She did. I still didn't understand so I leaned towards her and asked her to repeat it again. She did. I still didn't understand. Rather than continue asking her to repeat herself, I just said "yeah" and shook my head up and down. They both looked at me and almost simultaneously said "That's not what you ordered, she asked you if you ordered ____ (I don't remember what), but you ordered _________)

    I said, "now ain't this some junk. A Brother and Sister can't communicate with one another so we have to have two White translators" They claimed I was talking too softly when I ordered and she was "speaking ebonics" I couldn't argue with it. I clearly heard what she said, I just didn't recognize/understand it. I asked, OK, if it is "Ebonics" how in the world to YOU understand it and I don't?" They said that serving this community in Emergency Medicine you can't get by without understanding it.

    My language skills are improving. I am now fluent in English, "Ebonics" and "Red Neck." I have found that you cannot serve this community without understanding "Red Neck" either. :)
     
  4. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    ....I also find it interesting that no mention was made of any other students not being able to understand that teacher's speech.

    Interesting, that no mention is made of other parents complaining about his/her child's declining grades because this particular teacher's speech was so (allegedly) "ghetto-fied" they couldn't understand her.

    Interesting, that ALL the other students in her class, seemingly, had no complaints about her speech but ONLY she and her son 'just didn't understand Ebonics.'

    :thinking: Hmmmm. Interesting.

    However, I surmise that in that 2 year interim, on one side, her, admittedly, SMART-MOUTHED son learned to curtailed his mouth and any classroom antics a bit better as he matured from the 4th grade to the 6th.

    And, on the other side, that (at first) new, very-green, teacher learned to hone her classroom-management skills in order to better handle SMART-MOUTHED students like this little boy.

    *The first year of teaching is the "make it or break it" year for teachers....Some finish that year and never return....Some do what they can to get out of their contracts and don't even finish the school year. --They leave at Christmas Break, only completing one semester.

    But, those who do come back for "Round 2" the 2nd year (lol) have had some time to reflect and see where he or she went wrong, what areas they need to adjust in teaching styles and/or classroom management. You learn more-and-more each year, always "tweaking" and "oiling" where needed.*

    However, again, I would NOT have apologized for calling that mother and family "racist." ---- If I were that teacher, I would STILL be standing on that statement!
     
  5. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Ooops....I didn't see your post until now.

    However, yes, I, too, have been exposed to some regional dialects, White and Black, that are difficult to understand.

    But, there was wrong on both sides of this situation:

    1. It was unprofessional for that teacher to tell that parent that she "just didn't like" her son. (even if she really didn't)

    2. No matter which way you cut it, that "ebonics" statement from that parent was offensive.


    *And I can tell that still-new teacher that she is in for a RUDE awakening if she continues to think that an administrator is on HER side just because he or she is black like her!

    Most school administrators, at the campus level and district level, will sell-out any teacher faster than you can BLINK.

    They are NOT there for YOU. Your job means NOTHING to them. They will TELL you that they have your back and then smile and kow-tow to whomever wields the power, and that is NEVER a classroom teacher.*

    Oh...and that's not just a "Black Thing."----White administrators do it to White teachers too.
     
  6. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Lyon King Admin. STAFF

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    very very interesting log here ...that i find deep and some out lashing statements made by them all.....wow
     
  7. Full Speed

    Full Speed Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I didn't mention it in my OP but she did actually mention that several other parents had been in and out of the school because their childs grades had dramatically declined with that specific teacher. She did not give any opinion on why their grades declined, just that there were "several others".





    I agree with your assessment of both sides 100%


    It think it is "possible" that the kid didn't understand the teacher clearly. I think If one of my children told me they couldn't understand their teacher and I meet with that teacher and the teacher was talking "Red Neck" I would understand. I wouldn't blatantly say "We just don't understand Red Neck", I would just say something like "I can understand why my son would have difficulty understanding you, you have a regional dialect that we are not accustomed to." That being said, this particular lady just ain't like that. She is just a very "matter of fact" type person. She makes no attempt to be diplomatic with ANY BODY.

    She did not mention that she appologized to the teacher about the ebonics comment and knowing her, I don't expect that she would. Considering no apology was given for the ebonics comment, I probably wouldn't have given an apology for calling her a racist either, although IMO she is not a racist in the way I see racist. If I where the teacher, I would take reasonable steps however to reach that child and try to perform my job of educating that child. I would try to rise above personality conflicts or even improper behavior on the part of parent or child in order to be the professional my position calls for.
     
  8. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Well, neither of us, specifically, knows the basis of the complaints of those "several others." ---It could have been due to the teacher's speech OR it could have been similar (untold) behavioral factors involved as in the case with her son.


    Well, again, I can not discount the little boy's "smart mouth" that, previously, had not caused a decline in his grades from his teachers before this one.

    As a former educator, I can also attest to the fact that there are many parents out there who are not accustomed to the so-called "cute" antics of their little "darlings" suddenly NOT being tolerated by the rest of the world; and when this happens, it's such a shock to them and to their children.....It's so unimaginable!

    For me, that's a LOADED sentence, right there!

    So, her son's "SMART MOUTH" had been a "problem" with past teachers, just not a "bad" one. *Hmmm*


    I didn't think she apologized for it either....That's why I wouldn't have apologized to her.

    Obviously, that teacher did retain some professionalism by not harboring any hard feelings for the little boy two years later. ---Trust and believe, she knew who he was as soon as she saw his name on the Roll.

    So, two years later, that teacher and little boy formed a better rapport (again, with no mention of speech comprehension.) :cool:

    Well, sincerely, I am glad that this whole situation turned out for the better for the boy and the teacher.

    But, with my background, I'm processing this entire situation with not a grain but a whole CUP of salt. :cool:


    That's my take on it.
     
  9. Full Speed

    Full Speed Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Well, she did admit that her son was a smart mouth. That is TOTALLY NOT surprising considering his mothers matter of fact personality. I think the teacher can be credited with her professionalism and for the amount she matured in her ability to deal with smart mouth students. Also the child can be credited for his maturity during that period and that he now considers her his favorite teacher. Mrs Matter of fact can get a little credit as well considering that she seems satisfied and displayed concern when her sons academics and desire to attend school changed, but is peachy keen now that her sons academics and desire to attend school is back on par. It seems she was expressing reasonable concern for here son as opposed to protest just because the teacher is Black.

    Like you said, it seems things turned out for the better and I think it worked out that they were given another opportunity to work together as teacher and pupil.
     
  10. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Any responsible parent, black or white, with "reasonable concern" would have taken the same steps to ensure their child's mental/emotional well-being and academic success in school.

    I never intimated otherwise.

    But, if I were ever exposed to "Ms. Matter-of-Fact," personally or professionally, she would receive the same blunt language from me she so easily gives to others. I would have no qualms with telling her exactly what was on my mind...with word choice that would not be profane but would still get my message across.


    (I can do "nice-nasty" very well.) :wink:

    Again, I am happy for the teacher and the boy in their new-found relationship.

    And I still support that teacher's evaluation of his mother's statement: "racist."
     
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