Does Education Look like This?

I walked into a third grade classroom today in St. Petersburg, FL. There were four black students; about eighty percent of the other students were white. I surveyed the class. Three student desks were facing the wall. Two were Black girls and one was a black boy. The other black girl sat in the semi-circle facing the board with the other students. Nevertheless, this is the Kicker; one of the students came to me, she was one of the first to arrive. She told me there were four bad students in the class. I just looked at her, as she continued to explain their behavior to me. Never once did I label these children as Black. However, they were.

One of the black girls walked up to me as soon as she arrived and told me I was her teacher in pre-K. This was about four years ago. As the day progressed, I had to yell at these four black students more so than anyone else in the class and tell them to be quiet while I read. Three of the black students continued to move around and be a distraction. There was one black little girl that sat at her desk with her head down. She had a bewildered expression on her face and looked like she was going to sleep.

The male in the back of the room had his entire body turned away during the book discussion. I soon grew tired of reading and asked one student to read. She read fluently. I then ask the one little black girl who had been very affectionate toward me read. She stumbled over a few words. She later told me she was nervous while reading.

The other students sat on the floor and listen intently. They looked at me as I read the story and were able to answer the question and retell the story.

The day progressed. The one black male student sat on top of his desk. I had to correct him.  He did manage to complete the leveled Math program. Only a few students complete the entire program during a school year. This was an accomplishment for him. These four students did have some academic strength, more so than some other student I have observed at struggling South-Side Schools. This school was more mid-county, with a more diverse population.

I have been a substitute for Pinellas County School now about seven years. The status of the substitute has been upgraded to Guest Teacher as if this would lend a little respect to my position. After about twenty-plus years in education, I feel comfortable at any level and at any school I happen to be in. I often wonder why I have spent the last seven years in Florida as a substitute in South-Side schools.

Schools are a mirror reflection of society. Students are taught useless information. They do not know core competencies, such as how to tell time are the multiplication table. The resources the teacher use are so complicated. Students wear uniforms. I watched schools transition to uniforms as if it would bring some uniformity to students. I believe there was a more sinister motive, to have students subservient to the state.

Today’s educational agenda is a Cultural War being waged for the minds and hearts of children. It happens through State Education. The educator is the one who passes on this inferior life to children. Once I realized this, I immediately left education. I will not be the one.

There are some good things happening in education, but what is wrong outweighs the good.  Most time I am in awe of the children and their level in class. Could these few children be singled out because of their race, maybe they are different? It is apparent but is this any reason to signal them out. I do not know.

On a more positive note, these four students hung around my desk and were genuinely interested in me. I showed them videos and picture of my grandchildren and a picture of my ruptured thumb.

One student told me the teacher did not like her. I imagine children feel that way about their teachers. If students felt disliked will she be/turned off from learning. Some children are unlikable, by their very nature. However, if I am professional, then there is a level of love and respect I must have for children no matter how they behave.

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