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There’s really no way to half-A$$ it: Your kids are incompetent.

As I ease into life as a first-year teacher for an under-funded, shoddily-staffed, failing charter school on Chicago’s Far South Side, I’m learning the myriad ways in which young black children are being bred for failure – if not general insufficiency – in an economically crippled society that increasingly demands competition.

I could write a long thesis paper about the socioeconomic failures of our government and society when it comes to how we handle poor minorities. In this case, however, I’d rather focus on things that I think you, dear reader, can actually control:

Raise ‘em old school: It sounds prosaic when older people say that the new generation doesn’t have the respect that they had when they were kids. But dammit, it’s all the way true…mainly because parents are getting younger and younger. If grandma is 39 years old, how much can you reasonably expect from students who literally, unabashedly curse out their teachers? Since I can’t pop ‘em in the mouth like I’d like to at times, perhaps you should make them a bit more respectful. Just a thought.

Bathe them: I teach freshmen. By the end of seventh period every day, it’s a safe bet my classroom will smell less than stellar. I have certain students I can’t even stand next to. I was a grubby kid (and some might argue I can be a grubby adult at times), but I was at least acquainted with a bar of soap. Get them familiar just the same…do you really want your boy to grow to be a man without ever having a woman within a reasonable circumference of their person?

Help them with homework: I was not the class valedictorian, by any means. And though I had very educated parents, they didn’t ride me to study and perform well. But boy, I knew the value of getting my homework done. Too many of my kids look at me like I’m speaking Mandarin Chinese when I ask them to get homework in. So many are failing for that reason alone. Your average 14-year-old needs to be ushered into high school the right way, so do your best to help them with the basic algebra at home. And if you don’t remember it, pay your nerdy cousin with free sixers of MGD to tutor your kid.

Have frank sexual conversations: As of this writing, I’m dealing with a student who is now the rumored Amber Cole of the school because she got busted in the boy’s bathroom. Twice. Servicing two different boys. As can be expected, her name is buzzing around the school in a major way. Make sure you don’t have that daughter. If you have a son, give him the common sense and wherewithal to see that he is not the teenaged sire of a child destined to be one of the many students I have with no papa at home.

 Teach them the true value of material items: It’s funny how many students I have who think that I’m paid because I wear an $80 pair of Cole Haan shoes and a nice leather motorcycle jacket. If only they knew. I went to school with a bunch of materialistic hood ferrets who valued Tommy Hilfiger and Nautica more than they did bread and water, so I know what misplaced priorities look like. Teach them that a brand name is just a reason to exponentially increase the price of a sweatshirt. The sartorially awkward geeky kids will thank you for it.

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