This is the day we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. here in the United States, so it seems an appropriate time for me to get back to my racism series. I taught at a new high school in Year Five of my 23-year high school teaching career. This school was a consolidation of two … Continue reading Considering My Own Racism: The biggest lesson I learned from some of my high school students
Considering My Own Racism: My beginning years as a high school teacher
I left law in the summer of 1985 to become a high school English teacher. When people would ask where I was going to teach, I told them, "Rossville High." More than once I received the reply, "They have a lot of blacks there." The way that comment was delivered was a kind of judgment … Continue reading Considering My Own Racism: My beginning years as a high school teacher
Considering My Own Racism: My High School Years
As I continue the series of blog posts in which I explore my racism, I'm focusing on my high school years. I don't have a lot of actual high school memories that touch on race. The first has to do with riding the bus to school. My guess is that this was during ninth or … Continue reading Considering My Own Racism: My High School Years
Considering My Own Racism: My Junior High Years
Even though my two years of junior high (seventh and eighth grades) were my first two in racially-integrated schools, I have very few memories that have to do with race. I do remember that our junior high was the former black high school. So it was in a black neighborhood. One that was just outside … Continue reading Considering My Own Racism: My Junior High Years
Considering My Own Racism: My Foundation
I've decided to write what I expect will be a series that looks at the ways in which I am racist. I'd like to say that I'm not racist. That I see everyone equally, without prejudice. But when I'm brutally honest with myself, when I look closely at my reactions and thoughts, I find that … Continue reading Considering My Own Racism: My Foundation
Just what does a new school year mean for teachers?
If you're not a student or teacher, this time of year might mean extra muggy and hot days and the hope of cooler weather in a month or so. It might mean another month for beach vacations and swim parties and grilling outside. But if you're a student or teacher around here, early August has come … Continue reading Just what does a new school year mean for teachers?
Stress x Stress = Survival mode : My Middle School Experiment, What I Learned, Part 4
The everyday stress of teaching students in the throes of beginning adolescence adds up over a while. AND The everyday stress of living in poverty (which was about 90 percent of my students) adds up over a while. Put those two situations together . . . and you get a classroom full of students - … Continue reading Stress x Stress = Survival mode : My Middle School Experiment, What I Learned, Part 4
Not if I can disrespect you first! : My Middle School Experiment, What I Learned, Part 3
That is one of the most difficult and trying challenges of teaching in a high poverty school. Dealing with the disrespect you so often encounter.
My Middle School Experiment: What I Learned, Part 2. Less ego, more patience.
As I said in earlier posts, I'm sure I learned more during my semester of teaching middle school than my students did. And a lot - probably most - of what I learned was about myself. In this post, I'll share one of the "good" things I learned. I learned that I am a great deal more … Continue reading My Middle School Experiment: What I Learned, Part 2. Less ego, more patience.
My Middle School Experiment: What I learned, Part 1
It was a month ago that I completed my semester of teaching middle school. This was a semester - 90 days - of experiment. An experiment to find out what teaching middle school is like, what middle schoolers themselves are like, what it's like to teach in a high-poverty middle school, what it's like to … Continue reading My Middle School Experiment: What I learned, Part 1