Redefinition

Jose VilsonEducation

my classroomToday, I could start off with an anecdote about a kid whose own inner complexities make her sensitive and bossy, sweet yet callous enough to steal and discard without remorse, mature on one end of the spectrum, yet too involved in her own sense of power over meeker beings to understand how she negatively affects others.

Then, that means I’d have to go into the frustrations I feel as a teacher towards these constant contradictions, and their negative effects on the classroom. More so, I’d have to get into her own rather suspect relationships with friends, family members, and former sexual partners. Then, I’d also have to go into how she and the educational system continue to fail each other on so many levels. All these events tie into how this girl is at a crossroads of her life where someone can more easily and readily help her see another way of living or she could become another negative statistic about Latina women in this country.

These and many more narratives explain why my job becomes more than just an 8-3. If we took an honest look at the teaching profession (unlike the current administration for NYC), we would see that it takes more than a master’s degree to make a classroom work. A real worker in any field is hard to come by, when, even in education, one can bypass the practically necessary prerequisites of true field experience and earned credentials through nepotism and a quasi-oligarchic system reminiscent of an all-boys club.

There aren’t any rubrics for how to tell a kid who’s getting abused at home to be quiet and do their work. There isn’t a bulletin board in the world that helps these kids learn how to cope with their constant social pressures. There aren’t many lesson plans that have an objective that states, “We will be able to increase the population of Black and Latino youth in higher levels of education” or at the very least ” … become better citizens in our community.”

Any real teacher can tell you what positions belong on their resumes:

Teacher
Parent
Brother / Sister
Friend
Disciplinarian
Strategist
Secretary
Babysitter
Counselor
Activist
Inspirational Speaker
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When the scribes write the books about teachers, though, they might use the word teacher derisively, and may use the adjectives, “greedy,” “self-serving,” “pompous,” and “ungrateful.” When people ask those very scribes to go into the classroom themselves, they go back to their quills and caves and continue bashing teachers with these same adjectives.

jose, who believes instruction and classroom management belong on the top part of the educational priority list and that bulletin boards belong somewhere next to whether a kid should go to the bathroom or whether there’s enough chalk for that day’s lesson