Posted by: wurdygirl | April 15, 2008

The underbelly

I was orginally going to title this post “Learn gujarati,” but I realized that it would be a VERY short post. I briefly had a thought that it would be fun to surprise K by learning a few words, but then I remembered how difficult learning to speak another language is. My second idea was to learn how to write something simple, but then I looked up the gujarati alphabet on the internet. Ummmm….never mind. The language of love is universal, right? Anyway, his english is impeccable.  

So, I was out of ideas for my post today…until this afternoon.

The class I teach at school is an alternative class. The kids that I have in my classroom are not allowed to stay in the mainstream classrooms for various reasons. So, they come to me for a while.

Today, while waiting for school to be dismissed, a student started telling me about his weekend. Let’s just say that it involved the police, a raid, guns, and illegal substances. Fortunately, this did not happen at the child’s home, but it happened right next door…with him sitting on the porch, drinking a Coke, and watching all of the action. Hmmmm…..and we wonder why this kid is in trouble?

Unfortunately, this is normal for him. I asked if he was scared, and he said, “No, it was funny!” I do believe he really thought it was funny. He was laughing about it and telling me what a great weekend he had watching all of this. ‘Cops’ right in his backyard…who needs a TV?

This is really discouraging. This is not the first time I’ve heard stories like this from these children. I’ve also been educated about how to acquire a firearm if I ever have need of one. I try to provide these kids with a non-judgemental ear so that they will talk to me…and they do. I try really hard to understand where they’re coming from so that I can best teach them. Yet, I have nothing in common with these kids. Their world is foreign to me even though we live in the same city. I simply cannot relate.

Now the question is, how can I be an effective teacher when I can’t relate to my students? The only thing I can do is create a safe, child-centered, learning environment and hope for the best.

Oh, yeah….and did I mention that these are 4th graders?

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