All Articles Tagged "school"

Black Lives Matter: 6th Grade Boys Write Letter To President Obama

April 11th, 2016 - By Chad Milner
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From left to right: Phoenix, Zayd, Bryson and Keidy, all sixth graders at Wildwood Elementary in Amherst.

From left to right: Phoenix, Zayd, Bryson and Keidy, all sixth graders at Wildwood Elementary in Amherst.

Phoenix, Zayd, Bryson, and Keidy of Wildwood Elementary School in Amherst, MA, are sixth graders who are doing their part to make the world a better place.

In February, the boys’ teacher, Chris Eggmeir, assigned a project in which his students were instructed to find a problem in the world and explore possible solutions to it. Bryson had become interested in the Black Lives Matter movement and proposed to his group members that they take on racism, with Black Lives Matter being a potential solution to it.

After doing the research, the boys decided to draft a letter to President Obama, lamenting their thoughts, frustrations, and hopes as young Black males in America.  Before sending it, the boys asked a paraprofessional, Mtalia William Banda, at their school to edit the letter.  Banda posted the letter on his politically-driven blog, Soul Latte, saying “I knew immediately this needed to be shared.”

Upon posting, the letter has been shared thousands of times and the boys have been featured on Western Massachusetts news outlets.  Phoenix, Zayd, Bryson, and Keidy recently read the their letter aloud at a Black Lives Matter forum in their home state.

In the letter, after addressing President Obama and introducing themselves, the boys state that because of Black Lives Matter, they want to voice their concerns about equal treatment by members of law enforcement.  The four young men also explain the origins of the Black Live Matter movement starting after Trayvon Martin was gunned down and give statistics that ultimately suggest one of them could personally fall victim to the prison system in some capacity or another.

The most poignant part of the letter is towards the end. Many have been confused and against Black Lives Matter because they assume that it’s racist, while others have been asking “Why don’t all lives matter?”  The four break this down in a manner that most can understand:

“… Some people take this movement in the wrong way by thinking that they are just saying that only Black lives matter but no, we are saying that Black lives matter too, which means all lives matter.  Whites are treated like they matter by the police.  For instance, one in three Black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime.  African Americans were twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police.  This shows that blacks are treated unfairly.  This movement advocates for our rights.”  

As of yet, President Obama hasn’t responded to the boys’ letter.  At Madamenoire, we’re just doing our part to make sure the message gets heard.  You can read the full letter here.  

Chad Milner is a New York-based writer who founded the blog Single Dadventures, where he pens his (mis)adventures with his daughter, Cydney.  He regularly contributes to Madamenoire, as well as various websites, giving insight on parenting, dating, relationships and music from the perspective of a young, single Black father.  Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Lawmaker Proposes Parents Get Paid Leave To Participate In Child’s School Activities

March 23rd, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Parents Get Paid Leave To Participate In Child's School Activities

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If you’ve ever been a child, at an event, waiting for your parents to show up, you know how important it is for them to be there. It is with this fact in mind that California Assemblyman Mike Gatto, a Democrat from Los Angeles, proposed that employees get three, paid days off each year to attend their children’s school activities.

KTLA reports that in a news release from last week, Gatto said, “Being involved in your child’s education shouldn’t be limited by your family’s income, and it shouldn’t come down to a choice between meeting with a teacher or volunteering in the classroom, versus paying the bills.”

Currently, parents, grandparents and guardians can take up to five, unpaid days for school-related activities and emergencies without losing their job. Gatto’s legislation wants to compensate employees for those days.

When he announced the bill, Gatto cited a study that showed that children with involved parents perform better and have fewer disciplinary issues at school. Yet, less than a quarter of parents with an income below $30,000 were very involved with their children’s education. Most of these parents said that there was a lack of time due to work schedules.

Gatto said that instead of continuing to complain about the state of public schools, we should begin to work to fix them. He’s hoping that the legislation will give parents a chance to be more active in their child’s lives without worrying about not being able to feed them.

“You shouldn’t have to be a cast member of the ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ to be involved in your child’s education,” Gatto said.

What do you think about the legislation? Do you think other states should adopt the policy?

5 Things Parents Should Teach Their Kids Outside Of School

March 23rd, 2016 - By Chuck Creekmur
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Guess what? We need a total overhaul of the modern school system in America. This is a fact. the United States, which is supposed to be the bastion of modern civilization, ranks a mere number 14 in the global education rankings. We are number two in ignorance though. The kings and queens of education are South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. All Asian lands, they are kicking some serious global butt.

One of the reasons that those countries fare so well was that there is a “culture of accountability,” according to a report commissioned by education company Pearson. This means that teachers, parents and students all were equally responsible for the success of the child. They also believe that kids are able to become smart through hard work and dedication, but the folks here generally think that you are born smart or dumb.

So, now educators have been talking about how to usher children into the 21st Century with new learning techniques that will help kids compete in this global environment. I have some practical things parents should teach their kids that will pay dividends as they get older, wiser and eventually take over the world. We cannot afford to wait for America to make a change.


1. How To Manage Money


One of the main issues with Black people is we have all of this buying power, but we don’t generally learn the details of managing money. The most I learned coming up was “Save your money.” I had to tell my daughter recently that she needs to put away 10% of her money when she jumps into the workplace. From there I did the math from 20-years-old to 60-years-old. Not only did she get it, but I am going to continue to guide her on this matter into her 20’s so that she continues to understand that power of putting money away for retirement. Certainly, there are other investment opportunities and ways to make your kid’s money work for him or her, but that is an easy entry point. They can grasp the concept very easily.

2. About Their Heritage

Recently, Malcolm X “turned” 90. There were celebration all over social media. I personally went to the grave of the slain civil rights icon and his dear wife Dr. Betty Shabazz in upstate New York. Do you think Malcolm was celebrated on this day at all in my kid’s school? Not at all! I ended up sharing what I experienced with her via text and when I saw her I gave her a red, black and green flag. Obviously, Malcolm X is just one of many, but there is a huge book all African American parents should own, if they can get a copy. It is called Africana, the Black encyclopedia of encyclopedias!
This bad boy is rare, but I found one and we’ve been learning from it ever since! Kids get a sense of pride seeing all the history, legacy and heroes that they will likely never see in the walks of traditional school. They need to know that Black people were more than enslaved here in America.


3. To Develop Their Passion

My brother is a teacher and he introduced me to the concept of “multiple intelligences.” Before he brought it up, it never really occurred to me that such a thing existed. That was, until I thought about myself in third grade. I will never forget how the teachers wouldn’t let me partake in the talent show, because I could draw. “But, that’s my talent,” I recall saying pathetically. They wanted kids to sing and dance. I realized later on that the school system at that time was ill equipped to teach based on my “intelligence.” From there, I would cheerfully go through school doodling, day-dreaming and garnering average grades – unless it was art. As we ease into these new ways of teaching,parents must try to identify how their kids learn. Thankfully, my parents fostered that creative side of me and I do the same for my child even though her true passions lie elsewhere.

4. Learn Healthy Eating Habits

We talk about the obesity rate in kids all the time, but are we really teaching them about eating right? I don’t think we are. I will admit that early in my child’s education year, the school forbid certain food stuff, particularly those of a sugar variety. However, as she eases into the middle school years, they are easing up. The kids have more free will to pick what they want to eat. Now, I don’t even claim to know what they are serving, because I generally pack her healthy lunch when she is with me. This is directly related to her eating some greasy pizza at lunch one time. Let them know to stay away from processed foods and GMOs as much as they can. Lastly, teach them why they should stay physically active. The occasional double chocolate chip cookie serves as a great treat.

5. Good Ol’ Fashioned Etiquette (On All Sides)

My daughter and I were going into a convenience store to get me some coffee for a quick road trip recently. When we got to the door, she attempted to hold the door open for a brother coming out. He was about my age, maybe a bit younger. He said, “Don’t hold the door for a man – you’re daddy better tell you that!” We shared a laugh and I patted him on the back with a “Thanks, brother.” I laughed because I have taught my daughter all sorts of etiquette, particularly around how a man should treat a women. Most of our outings are like mini-Daddy/Daughter dates with me opening her doors, closing them and all that good stuff. This is for her to know exactly how somebody should be acting when she does start to date. The same applies to boys and they generally need such formal training more than girls. These skills will serve them well in life though.

These are just a few of the good things we can teach our kids outside of school. Do you have anything to add? Please contribute so we can get and keep these fantastic kids on the right track.

School Blues: Is Your Child Being Treated And Graded Fairly?

February 15th, 2016 - By MommyNoire Editor
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Corbis

After a particularly frustrating week with some the teaching staff at my son’s school, I happened to stumble upon a short video titled “The System of Racial Inequality.” In this just over 60 second soundbyte, a white woman, Tilman Smith, who has experience in the education system, pretty much confirmed my greatest concern with a certain race of teacher and my son. Her brief dialogue was alarming when describing the way white teachers tend to judge children based simply on race of school-aged black boys in particular.

Smith gave an example and explained how white teachers would think highly of an “animated and cheeky” white boy in the class, label him “smart” and would all but dismiss his behavior because, “boys will be boys.”

On the other hand, however, if a black child in the class displayed the same behavior she wouldn’t be so quick to think his “animated and cheeky” demeanor is smart but instead would raise an eyebrow and take mental note that, “I might need to keep an eye on him.”

Smith went on to explain “we are afraid of these young boys. And, I’m talking young boys four-years-old and above. And instead of the teacher looking at him or herself and asking ‘what is going on with me that the same behavior creates fear in me instead of admiration?’ And we pathologize the boy of color.”

Education in our home is priority and my son has grown up with full awareness of his father and my expectations in terms of his academic performance. And thankfully, he’s been quite the scholar and has scored straight A’s since he’s been graded on an official A-F scale in the 3rd grade. He takes great pride in his academic diligence and works hard to maintain his honor role and Dean’s list status while playing sports year round. For the most part, he doesn’t have any problems with his teachers and we usually get the “he’s so smart, outgoing and funny! The kids just love him and I love having him in my class” at every parent/teacher conference.

But every once in a while, there’s an instructor who finds him “difficult” or “disconnected” and it seems he’s been placed with an instructor with similar sentiments this year. This particular attitude is usually coupled with the notion that somehow our son is incapable of grasping the information and apparently our son “seems to be struggling. Has he ever been evaluated for learning disabilities?” What, lady? No.

I wish I could say that it stops there but just last week, we stumbled upon a test which was graded unfairly. Our son answered the question correctly, however, he didn’t answer the way she “wanted” him to. After approaching her with our concern, she adjusted the grade making the difference between his original high B score which then became an A. Needless to say this is infuriating because now that we’re mid-way through the school year, we have to wonder if she’s been doing this all along (considering he got his first B in her class), has she done this to other children of color in the past and will she continue to?

His father and I don’t go into a school year expecting to have to deal with teachers like this but we most certainly have fought battles over seemingly biased treatment and grading based on our son’s race – nothing more. While it’s one of the most disheartening conversations to have had with our little guy – he’s well aware he has to work twice as hard to get the same A’s Timmy gets but it’s made him the relentless scholar who comes home and excitedly places his A grades on the fridge and occasionally counts them for sport. And despite these small hurdles, he’s still driven and eager to learn – from not only books but the people behind them.

Get Money: Top 14 Little-Known Scholarships For Women And Girls In 2016

February 12th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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Every year, billions of dollars in scholarships are given away to students all over the world. These scholarships can be used to pay for college tuition, boarding, books, and more. Every scholarship has different criteria to be eligible, but all are not required to be repaid as long as the scholar continues to meet the guidelines.

Here are the top 15 scholarship programs for women and girls in the year 2016. Of course, check for deadlines and keep these programs in mind for 2016/2017 too:
1. Executive Women International Scholarship Program: Offers scholarships to both male and female outstanding high school seniors who plan to pursue a four-year college degree program. Scholarships are based on academics, extracurricular activities, leadership and communication skills.

2. Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women: For women age 25 or older who want to complete their education. Candidates must complete a 500-word essay that explains the reasons for applying for the scholarship, how the funds will be used, and how the scholarship award will help them with their education and career goals.

3. Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Scholarships: For women pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in the areas of engineering, engineering technology and computer science. Female students must be attending accredited colleges or universities and preparing for careers in technical fields.

4. Joe Francis Haircare Scholarship: Named after Joe Francis (1933-1994), the founder of several hair care franchises, this scholarship is for women (and men) applying for entrance into Cosmetology/Barber School, OR actively enrolled in a Cosmetology/Barber program. An application must be submitted, as well as a one-page essay, and one or two letters or recommendation.

5. Women’s Independence Scholarship Program: Helps women who have survived domestic violence to return to school and become self-sufficient. The primary candidates are single mothers with young children who lack the resources to attend college. It is based on financial need.

6. Young Women in Public Affairs Award: For young women age 16 to 19 with an interest in public affairs who plan to enroll in college. Interested students must be knowledgeable about Zonta, have experience in local or student government, and generally be active in volunteer work.

7. At the Well Young Women’s Leadership Academy Scholarship: These scholarships are available to help students attend a summer program at Princeton University, and is geared towards building leadership skills for minority girls entering the tenth, eleventh, or twelfth grades of high school.

8. Go Red Multicultural Scholarship Fund For Women: This program champions greater inclusion of multicultural women in the nursing and medical industries, address important gaps in treatment, and ensure that all Americans have an opportunity to work with their healthcare providers to make the best choices that lead to good health.

9. National Student Nurses’ Association Scholarships: Awarded to students currently enrolled in a nursing degree program. Eligible students must be enrolled in a state-approved nursing program that leads to a LPN or RN licensing.

10. Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) Scholarship Program: Open to undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate female students interested in a career in law enforcement. Eligible students may major in criminal justice, social sciences, public administration, computer science, finance, chemistry, and physics.

11. Sara Scholarship: Available to female high school seniors who plan to attend college and are active in golf. The renewable scholarship is awarded to 12 deserving female students each year. Students must have excellent academic skills and demonstrate financial need.

12. Job’s Daughters Supreme Scholarships: Offers several different scholarships for single female students who are members of Job’s Daughters or whose parents are Job’s Daughters members. Applicants can be high school seniors, graduates or currently attending technical school or college.

13. Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship: Open to female undergraduate seniors or female students enrolled in a graduate program and studying Computer Science or Computer Engineering.

14. The Ed Bradley Scholarship: Open to sophomores, juniors or seniors who are pursuing careers in radio, television, or digital journalism. One winner per year is chosen to receive a scholarship and an invitation to attend the Excellence in Journalism conference.

To learn how to apply for these scholarships and hundreds of others, visit ScholarshipsOnline.org

Here’s Exactly Why Black Students Are Snubbed In Gifted And Talented Programs

February 4th, 2016 - By Danielle Elaine
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Royalty-Free/Corbis

Not too long ago, a writer by the name of Alia Wong, wrote an obvious piece on Race Relations and the Education System for The Atlantic. In her article, the writer poses the question, “Why are there so few Black children in gifted and talented programs?,” and goes on to cite key points that have been studied, analyzed, and published for years; points that Black, and other minority educators, parents, and students have already known: stereotypes rule the classroom.

These stereotypes are largely specifically targeting Black children. In addition to combating negative perceptions projected on to them by school faculty, and educational tracking, they are also charged with the task of deflecting negative perceptions from their peers.

Like every other institution in America, the educational system was not built to serve all those matriculating equally. Wong cites a Vanderbuilt study, in which 10,000 students in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles were observed over time. In the study, 91 percent of educators were white and presented what researchers called, “racialized teacher perceptions.”

Would it be a leap to decode “racialized teacher perceptions” as just plain old racist? Clutch your pearls, because I said it. A large number of white teachers are racist. To sugarcoat the issue with a sweet, and palatable title for an institutional status quo, speaks to the volume of the issue.

Despite the empirical truth, laid out by research data, Vanderbuilt researchers take care with the fragility of white comfortability by not only creating a new and rosy title for racism, but also plainly stating, that their own research should be taken with a grain of salt, as ” their study isn’t definitive about what’s causing the underrepresentation.”

Much like recent news over Blacks being snubbed at the Oscars, Blacks in the classroom are no different. Variables by which Black students learn, and communicate have yet to be seen as viable means of expression and cognition. We are not overwhelmingly represented in any arena of  notable excellence because we are innately viewed as being incapable of being excellent.

As a mother, having just received my two-year-old daughters’ daycare assessment, I struggle with these very same issues. Knowing how my daughter is perceived, knowing that despite her high level of intelligence, ability to understand context in conversation, and express sarcasm, these are not intellectual qualities valued by a predominately white spearheaded institution.

Unless Black students are learning, advancing and regurgitating information by institutional guidelines their academic performance is seen as subpar.  We shouldn’t be asking why Black students are not in gifted and talented programs, but rather why are teachers not receiving culturally inclusive training on interacting, and assessing student performance.

 

It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye: Why My Daughter Changed Schools

December 4th, 2015 - By MommyNoire Editor
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By Yolanda Darville

Our family made an important decision last week.  After two years of feeling that my daughter needed a smaller classroom setting where she could get more attention in class, I finally decided to move her to a new school.  I’d done quite a bit of research and knew that it was the right decision.  After the first visit to the new school, my daughter was excited and couldn’t wait to enroll.  There was just one problem.  She had to say goodbye to her old school.

Let me give you some background.  My fourth grader had been at the same school since she was three years old.  For nearly six years, she’d seen the faces of the same children and teachers almost every day.  Her old school was all that she knew.  So although she was excited about moving to a new environment and starting a new adventure, she was a little scared.  I realized that this was a big deal for her.  As I thought about it, I realized that she had never had to say goodbye to anything in her life.

It dawned on me that helping my daughter make a smooth transition from one school to the other would set a precedent in her life.  As she continues to live and grow, she’ll deal with many changes.  She’ll have pets that die.  She’ll have friends come and go.  There will be jobs that she will leave.  There will definitely be romantic relationships that she’ll have to let go.  I realized that what seems simple to adults can be complex and confusing to children.  Children don’t innately know how to close one door and open another in a healthy way – they have to be shown. So I decided to walk my daughter through her first life transition the best way that I could.

First, I asked her about how she was feeling.  She told me that she was excited about the new school.  But she also admitted that she was afraid.  She was afraid of not knowing what to expect.  She wondered what her new teacher would be like.  She was scared that she wouldn’t make any new friends. I let her talk about all of her feelings without belittling them as childhood fears.

I was relieved when her new school suggested that she do a trial run for a day before transferring.  Was I ever thankful for that suggestion! It was the perfect opportunity for her to get all of her questions answered and her fears alleviated.  After the trial school day, she was much more confident and felt ready to say goodbye to her old school.

The last day at her old school was bittersweet.  At the end of the day, I walked with her as she hugged good friends goodbye and made promises to still keep in touch.  Then we began the long process of visiting each teacher who she’d had over the years. After seeing just a few teachers, she turned to me and said “Can we just go now, mom?  All these goodbyes are making me sad.” I told her that I was following her lead, and we quickly left campus.

On the way home from the last day of school, we shook off the sadness and spent our drive home talking about how great her new school would be.  I smiled because I knew that my daughter had learned an important lesson.  Now she knows from her own experience that each hard goodbye is followed by a bright promising hello.

My daughter changed schools, but many other changes go on in our children’s lives? How do you help them deal?

8th Grader Pens Heartbreaking Letter About Racist Experiences In School

November 16th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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It’s hard to think that with all that’s going on in our world that our children sometimes face racist experiences in school, but they certainly do.

Honors student Za’Khari Waddy is also star of his football team at Tabb Middle School in Yorktown, VA. The 13-year old recently wrote a letter that’s making national headlines. “Yesterday on the football bus coming from our football game a kid started saying racist things to me. He then started saying he does not like blacks and he told me 200 years ago my ancestors hung from a tree and after he said that I should I hang from a tree” the heartbreaking letter read.

“That made me super mad, so in the locker room I told him not to call me n—-r or that I should be hung on a tree…I was really mad and they think I was going to fight him but I want someone to do something about it because I’m tired of boys messing with me because of my skin. I’m at my boiling point with this. Please do something about this because when I bring it to the office/principle you do nothing about it and I’m tired of the racism.”

 Za’Khari’s mother, Zettrona Powell, said the racism has been ongoing for the past three years. “He’s been asked if he was going to rape or rob a young lady, he’s been pushed into lockers and called the ‘N-Word’ on numerous occasions” she said. According to The Dailymail, Zettrona reported these instances to school officials to no avail.

The media has caught wind of the story, and now the school district has released a statement.

“The York County School Division believes every student is entitled to a safe and welcoming school environment free from discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying. Racism and bullying have no place in our schools and will not be tolerated. Students are given information and counseling on appropriate and acceptable behavior throughout the school year. Additionally, every staff member in the division is required to participate in annual anti-bullying training.”

“It’s not right to judge people on their skin color before you get to know them because you can miss out on how good that person is,” Za’Khari said in an interview with news outlet WTKR.

Has your child had racist experiences in school?

School Uniforms Debate? I Vote Yes

September 14th, 2015 - By MommyNoire Editor
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Everyone has an opinion on the school uniforms debate. Mothers, fathers, wacky childless Uncle Gerald with the hermit crab collection. Everyone. I am writing in defense of the school uniform. If you’re vehemently anti-uniform, hear me out before pelting me with rotten tomatoes. You might agree with my by the end of my mini diatribe.

Here are three reasons why I think school uniforms are the way to go:

Laziness/Busyness

Pick one. I hate to break it to you but they’re the same thing. Choosing a fresh outfit for myself every single day is a chore. I enjoy looking nice but prefer sleeping in. If I have to chose between the two please believe that fashion will always come in second. I’d like to believe that my lovely face distracts coworkers during the the handful of times I’ve worn my skirt backwards for half the workday.

So, it’s all good.

Throw a child or two or three into the mix and your mornings have become mayhem. You could obviously lay everything out the night before but guess what? That takes time too. Valuable time I, er I mean – you, could spend on your couch watching Real Housewives of Compton or whatever is hot these days.

Forget it. Everyone throws on a fresh polo shirt with a pair of khakis and races out the door. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

Who has time for outfit coordination when your inbox hasn’t been cleaned since Sisqo was hot?

Just buy the uniforms and call it a day.

Avoid Distractions 

Clothes can become a major distraction in school as your children grow older. I was in honors and advanced placement classes but I failed calculus. You want to know why? I was showing too much knee.

Perhaps if I had spent less time channeling Dionne from Clueless and more time focusing on calculus I’d know how to…do percentages or something. You see how mathematically inept I am? Blame the lack of school uniform.

Don’t let this happen to your kids.

Adolescence is difficult enough for children. Help make their lives easier by leveling the superficial playing field. Everyone looks the same. Bam. One less thing to worry about.

Set the tone 

Kids go to school to learn. Period. It’s their job. School uniforms are to children what business suits or business casual are to adults. If one wants to be taken seriously in the workplace then one dresses accordingly. The same goes for school. The old cliche ‘dress for success’ rings true.

Of course, it is still possible to dress sloppily while adhering to a school uniform, but as a parent it is my responsibility to instill a good work ethic in my children and that includes ensuring that they put their best foot forward academically and professionally. Appearances matter. Take yourself seriously if you want others to do so as well.

Where do you stand? Are school uniforms a good thing?

5 Ways To Deal With A Mean Teacher

September 7th, 2015 - By MommyNoire Editor
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When my oldest son went to the fourth grade I entered the school year with the same optimism I have every year.  I hoped to join the PTA, build a cordial relationship with his teacher and most importantly support my boy in having the most educationally stimulating fourth grade experience possible.  And for the first two months that exactly what I did, but I sensed some tension between his teacher and me.

Trips to the school every other week for a progress and problem update and emails to ensure all homework was complete were not welcomed by his fourth grade teacher as they were in previous school years. It seemed like every time I attempted to build a positive teacher-parent relationship with Mr. Fourth Grade, I was brushed off or given the “what’s so special about your child” look.  So, by Christmas break I knew there was no chance of having a friendly relationship with this teacher.  This meant I needed to develop some strategies for dealing with a non-engaged, mean teacher.

  1. Strictly business: Other than good morning and good afternoon, I stopped exchanging niceties with my son’s teacher.  Before making my bi-weekly visit to the school I made a list of questions or concerns that I wanted addressed.  During our conversations I would no longer stray from that list to ask how the school year was going or how his Christmas break was.
  2. Make friends with the teacher next door:  If the teacher is truly anti-social, trust me, everyone knows already.  I’ve even had other teachers give me a rundown of the “good v. bad” teachers.  By forming a close relationship with another educator who teaches the same grade or a parent of another child in your kids class a parent can still keep their thumb on what’s going on in the classroom without further straining the relationship with the teacher.
  3. Absolutely no emails: When dealing with a teacher who doesn’t like you, or vice versa, the last thing you want is to send an email that is misconstrued in a negative manner.  Not only is it now written fodder for the playground of teachers at your kids school, but it also sets precedent for the teacher’s excuse to no longer deal with you.
  4. Get principal visibility: Unless the situation becomes unbearable with your kid’s mean teacher, I’d stay away from complaining to the principal. She has bigger fish to fry.  Before resorting to that,  I would make sure the principal and guidance counselors know your name.  Whether you show up to PTA with cookies the last Thursday of every month or offer to fill-in for the secretary’s lunch period occasionally, once the principal knows you are actively involved at school the teacher will have less validity to claims your presence at the school is useless.
  5. Maintain privacy: This is a biggie.  Never, I mean never, talk down or reprimand your child in front of a teacher who you are unsure has your child’s best interest at heart.  Teachers are people too, and can be manipulative.  While I truly believe most teachers are loving and want the best for all of their kids, some will use the divide and conquer strategy of pitting a parent against a kid.  Once a parent begins to equate their visits to the school with negative behavior from the child, a parent is more likely to keep their distance.  Teachers can use this to their advantage if they don’t want parents checking in on their class style.  Always handle behavior, homework or peer issues with your child at home.  Simply respond to the teacher: “We’ll work on that at home.”

 

C.C. Mendoza is an audio journalist with American Urban Radio Networks and blogs at brownmamas.com.