My Life

Spring Brings Change

So much has happened over the past couple of weeks and to be honest, some for the good, some for the worst. I won’t get into details, but one specific change that happened recently, made me reevaluate my career and what I want to do moving forward.

Since I started teaching, I really wanted to do something related to my degree and I’ve finally decided that I’m going to get my teaching certification in journalism, either in the middle or high school level. I love writing and I’ve loved teaching writing over the past couple of years, but now, I think it’s time to really use my skill set. I want to continue teaching but in a different area.

Should I be hired as a journalism teacher, I have somewhat of an idea of how I would set up my curriculum:

  1. The student’s grade would be based solely on their blog. In college, I took a social media aspects of journalism class, and out grades were based on our blog posts. We had to create a blog and our professor would give us assignments every week. I loved that class and I think it’d be awesome to recreate that in the classroom.
  2. My classroom would be solely technology based. With this, all updates, announcements, field trips, etc., would be posted to the class blog. It would basically be an online bulletin.
  3. Blog post topics would be based on whatever is hot in the news or on social media. The way to keep students engaged is to speak their language.
  4. I would demonstrate how to use social media responsibly, and how they can show their voice and be heard online.
  5. The focus of the class would be opinion pieces and it goes back to point 4: I want my students to be heard and feel like they have a voice.
  6. I would bring a lot of my expertise and passion to teaching journalism, for journalism has a special place in my heart.
  7. I would show the kids how to be reporters, how to conduct interviews, record and edit videos for their blog, and basically how to become even more tech savvy than they already are.

Though I haven’t even signed up for the test, my brain is working in overdrive on what I would do as a journalism teacher. I’ve been using teaching elementary as a safety net, but after recent events, it’s time to spread my wings and soar.

There’s nothing wrong with change, especially if it’s for the best and to better your life. Of course I will keep you all updated.

Has there been any changes in your life recently that coincides with the change did the season? Is there a change coming?

My Life

STRIKE! STRIKE! STRIKE!

I’ve been in education for the past 6 years and 4 of those years were spent in the classroom as a teacher. Everyone knows teachers are severely underpaid, but have the most important jobs. Without teachers, there’s no education. So this brings no surprise that teachers in certain parts of the country, are on strike.

We deal with heavy workloads (we aren’t body builders), unsupportive administration and parents, poor behaved children, state testing, sacrificing our families, sleepless nights, lack of resources, and to top it off, we have low wages. We are extremely overworked and underpaid/under appreciated, yet we still come to work and are beasts at our jobs. Often times, we have nothing to show for it.

In Texas, there is a march in the capitol on March 11, the first day of our spring break. I would attend, but I am taking my ESL certification test that day. It’s sad that when you have such an important job as a teacher, firefighter, policeperson, and any other underrated career, you go unnoticed and aren’t paid for the services you do for this country.

In Texas, the legislation is proposing that we receive a $5,000 raise, and I believe that is the least that can be done. If people only knew the half of what teachers go through on a daily basis, I think we would have more people advocating for us, and parents would cut us some slack. Our job is no easy feat, nor is it for the faint of heart.

Do you think teachers should receive a raise? Why it why not?

All Black Everything

Parental and Administrative Accountability

If you’re a parent, than many of you have experienced or will experience projects. I haven’t reached that stage with Khai yet, but I am on the other end of the project, the giving end. I have my students a project for Black History Month on January 28, and it was due Feb. 25. So the students basically had a month to do them. Do you know 17 out of 78 students didn’t do them? That may seem like not a lot, but compare it to the fact that the project was worth 4 grades.

Out of the 17, two of them did their projects incorrectly they were to choose a famous black inventor, and one chose Harriet Tubman and the other, Martin Luther King, Jr. prominent figures, but certainly not inventors. Innovators? Possibly.

The other 15 just decided not to do it and majority of the blame falls on the parents because these kids can’t drive to the store or buy their materials. Out of those 15, three told their parents they had a project. I’m my classroom, I set high expectations and I expect those expectations to not only be met by the students, but also their parents.

The number of excuses o received as to why their child didn’t have their project was aggravating to say the least. My principal is allowing them to turn them in by 7:30 am February 26, however, I hadn’t planned on taking any late projects. These parents need accountability.

With working in a low income area, it is to be expected. So many of the parents aren’t invested in their child’s academics and I consider those people to be shitty parents. Parents don’t look in backpacks or folders anymore, which is where they need to constantly look before their child gets on their game console or do whatever else. What happened to parents sitting at the table helping students with their homework?

When it comes to education, parents, you have to be all in for your child and their success, and also be all in with assisting the teacher. You cannot felt aokely in teachers for all of your child’s academic success. It doesn’t work like that. You are your child’s first teacher and they learn the best parts of life from you.

I see it too often in schools that serve low income students that the parents don’t take any kind of responsibility for the behaviors and actions of their child. It’s even more frustrating when administration doesn’t take action either. How is a teacher supposed to uphold these expectations that the administration wants us to have, but at the same time have classroom management when the students know there will be no repercussions for their actions?

Having to constantly correct a student’s behavior during instructional time is unfair to the other students, as well as to the teacher who doesn’t send the child to the office because the child will be sent back to class. It’s almost like a slap in the face. Once the parent gets involved, teachers often times realize that we have no support. Too many parents, in my experience, believe their child(ren) can do no wrong, believing their child first and only.

Then there’s the flip side. You have parents who we explain their child(ren)’s behavior to and their response is, “Oh, they do the same thing at home.” So that makes it okay? Because what I’m hearing is that your child(ren) acts the same way at home so them acting that way in school, disrupting the learning environment, is normal. You don’t think you should correct their behavior?

What these parents fail to realize is that in middle and high school, those teachers will give no second, third, tenth, nor twentieth chances. Their child will be removed from the classroom, and given detention, ISS, OSS, or expelled. If there’s no accountability now, their futures won’t be too bright. This is where the “school to prison pipeline” comes in. Children who don’t receive consequences for their actions, will grow up with the mindset that they can do what they want, and no one will do anything to them or they won’t face any kind of repercussions. Then who will be to blame?

That’s often why there are so many adults who walk around with a chip on their shoulder because they realize that no one owes them a thing. Starting kids off at a young age to be accountable for their actions, begins at home, and can take them a long way. It creates a sense of independence, leadership, and accountability. This is why it’s so important to have black educators in black and brown schools, and to have an administration that has motions in place to handle and nip behavioral problems head on. It’s also important for educators to have the support of the parents.

Black parental involvement in academics is severely low and we as a people have to do something to change that. But, how?