Sunday, April 17, 2005

observations and confessions

My feelings toward my sociology classes have calmed a bit. I haven't had the time to write due to a hectic personal life. However, life is about to mellow out a bit--perhaps even become boring-and I'll have lots of time to rant and rave and laugh over my little darlings.
*see star below if you are a grammar expert--leespease.

News: I'm teaching summer school. Why? Because I need the money, yo. I'm a little nervous about teaching a room full of kids for 4 hours straight. I taught Saturday School and by noon I was ready to kick those little munchkins out the door. I'm hoping Summer School kids act differently because they pay to be there. Saturday School kids did not pay... even though you'd think they'd have been on their best behavior because they were getting a six weeks worth of credit in 12 hours (three weekends). Don't worry, they still complained and tantrumed.

On my mind:
In sociology the other day we discussed the self-fulfilling prophecy as part of our unit on ethnicity and race. We were on some morphed tangent when I expressed that, as a child, prison/jail was this abstract place of punishment because I did not know anyone who'd been to jail. Meaning, none of my family members have been to jail. Most of my students were stunned. I knew I was taking a risk mentioning this. My kids love me and I have great relationships with them, partly because they've accepted that I'm "not no normal white lady." If they realize that I've lived an upper-class, white life they'll lose trust in me (and judge the book by its cover). For example, when I mentioned that I went to a more reputable public high school here in town, it was over for me. They were sure that I liked that place better and wondered why I demoted myself. I nonchalantly expressed that I like my current school way better and, truthfully, I always hated my former high school. It's taken a while for them to believe that I actually like the "poor school" better than the "rich one."
By admitting that jail has not been a prominent factor in my life, I drew a dividing line between me and many of my students. I tried to frame the discussion by telling them I was going to "be real" with them and used a confessional voice to make my point. I think my instructional point was made because after their initial surprise they began to nod their heads. If I want my kids to really listen to me and to use their lives as a mirror for society, they have to trust and identify with me. Ruby Payne writes about the importance of relationships in the classroom and I have to agree. In my sociology classes we discuss a lot and I depend on relationships with my kids (trust) to help them question and examine existing structures in society. If they see me as "some white lady", they won't trust me to go on a "academic journey," if you will.

*The dork in me is kicking to come out... If I interject something into my sentence--like this--, do I use two or one of the little dashes after the last word? Help me teachers. Please.


Blogger Pigs said...

I like just the one. Of course, I have absolutely nothing to base that on. Just think it looks nice. Helpful, aren't I?

Good luck with the sociology class. You sound like you're really good with those kids. No one I work with knows who Ruby Payne is because they've only taught in this lily-white yuppy school that is my life right now. Sigh.

7:05 PM  

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