Today in class, while discussing the meaning of condescending, one of my students exclaimed:
Miss, you should blog about that!
Some background as to why she would say that.
- To inspire a community of writers in my classroom, I have made a conscious choice to share with my kiddos my writing. For example, I have talked with them about how writing has been my redemption since my Mom died.
- To bring up the topic of transitioning as seniors, I printed and brought in this post for the class to read and discuss.
- To be transparent about how much I care for them, I talk frequently about how I write about them.
- To model growth and self-reflection, I share about how writing allows me to think about how I can be a better teacher.
- To promote excitement about writing, I have shared my recent success on one of my posts being Freshly Pressed.
And what exactly we were discussing as I tried to define both the denotation and connotation of condescending is how often I get that very tone of response when I identify where I teach. Those in my zip code proximity realize the “urban” nature of my school, so when I declare my teaching position, I often encounter the innocent and cute-but patronizing-responses of those who do not understand the world in which I
So with that in mind, I’d like to try my hand at a countdown.
Here are the top 11 things never to say to someone who chooses to teach in the hood:
- Wow, that must be hard. I don’t know how you do it. Wouldn’t it be easier in a “better” school?
- They have Advanced Placement there?
- You must have the patience of a saint. -or- Oh, well, you have a special place in Heaven.
- <insert awkward silence here punctuated by a captious stare>
- When will you move on?
- How are those kids, anyways?
- You must not get parent support.
- Is it dangerous? Are you scared?
- Wouldn’t someone who looks like you benefit more from having you as a teacher? Wouldn’t someone who looks more like them benefit them more?
- It’s a shame such great teachers are wasted on <insert negative stereotype here>.
To retort all 11 of these–as well as the bazillion I didn’t type here but many educators can testify to–let it be known…
I wake up everyday blessed to teach where I do, with the kids I have. They are the most loyal, most tenacious, most growing bunch of learners–and they teach and inspire me more than I ever do them.