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Case
Posted on November 13, 2012 2:27 am
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Yasar Bodur
Yasar Bodur
Reps: 614
White Intern in a Black inner-city school
My sister, Gina, who is a young White girl, started her student teaching in a predominantly Black school in inner-city America. She initially approached her job with optimism and purpose. However, she began to experience her first doubts with the presentation of an emotionally charged poetry reading at an all-school assembly. The poem painted a picture of the oppression of the African Americans by the European American majority. My sister was moved by the poem and accepted the historical truth of its message. At the same, she said she wondered what educational effects of the poem were and whether it would affect her legitimacy as a White teacher in a Black school. She talked to me about her experience. I am an experienced teacher, but I could not answer whether poems like that have any educational value, and whether or not my sister should worry about her legitimacy as a White teacher. I don’t what she should do in this specific situation.
 
     
     
 
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Solution 1
Posted May 31, 2013 11:52 am

vezaMu
vezaMu
Reps: 85
We cannot hide and pretend that oppression of African Americans did not occur and is not still occurring. It is important to express this and be aware of this. Acknowledging a problem is the first step toward resolving it. And having the opportunity to openly present these messages is very important. Expression through poetry is definitely a legitimate, educational practice. Your sister might benefit from extending this experience to her classroom and providing students an opportunity to have students write and present their own works in her class, as others in this feed have mentioned.

Also, acknowledging oppression does not mean that students will see her as less legitimate as a teacher. I have had moments where students have not trusted me fully because of my race. But I have shown that I respect them and care about their education. As a result I have earned their respect as well. I think it is important to understand that whites have systematically oppressed those of other races. For some, it is hard to see people as individuals and not as a threat as a result of these negative experiences they have experienced. As teachers, we have to be patient, kind, and respectful until trust is gained. We do not automatically have respect simply because we are teachers in this culture. If she continues to show respect to her students, they will learn to respect her as well.
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Love Joy
Love Joy
Reps: 78
I agree with all that you stated. Many students who are very well versed will realize that this is not a racial poem but historical in nature. It should open up dialogue for these students. Your sister can then express herself more and the students who do not understand can then come on board for understanding.
  Posted on: June 2, 2013 1:31 am

Monique Cook
Monique Cook
Reps: 70
I agree with your post. The only reason for being an illegitimate teacher is because you are an illegitimate teacher. She can earn the trust and respect of her students despite her races if she knows how to speak to and approach them.
  Posted on: June 2, 2013 4:36 pm

BeWuXe
BeWuXe
Reps: 117
Gaining the respect of the students should be a priority for any teacher. Being white and having taught students of all colors, demanding and giving respect is the key to a successful relationship with all students regardless of color. Also, showing interest in things which are of importance to them will also help gain this respect. However, gaining that respect often does take time, so patience is also a virtue of importance.
  Posted on: September 15, 2013 10:18 pm

Danielle Brock
Danielle Brock
Reps: 100
I found this study to be entertaining.
  Posted on: March 1, 2015 11:06 pm

Chelsea Abbott
Chelsea Abbott
Reps: 112
I believe that Gina can earn the trust from these students by doing her best to talk to them. Once she tries to talk to the students and show that she can be trusted, I think that the students will change they way they will feel about her. Also, I do not think that all of the students will give her the cold shoulder. She could talk to these students and see where they are coming from too, if she wishes.
  Posted on: September 9, 2015 7:17 pm

ehyNyn
ehyNyn
Reps: 109
I think that acknowledging oppression will only help the students respect your sister. Most of the time, people of different cultures or races think that people of other cultures or races do not know what they are going through. By acknowledging what happened, Gina can show her students that she may not understand what they are going through, but she does know what they are going through and can do whatever she can to help them. This also, in my opinion, will help Gina earn the respect of her students.
  Posted on: September 12, 2015 9:27 pm

Amanda Robinson
Amanda Robinson
Reps: 98
I agree! Every teacher walks into their classroom and has to prove themself. Regardless of race or gender, we must prove to our students that we are there to help them. Great solution!
  Posted on: September 21, 2015 12:30 am

uPaSeW
uPaSeW
Reps: 209
I think this would be the perfect opportunity to show how far European culture has come since slavery and the Jim Crow laws. I would have a discussion with the students about the difference in now and then. I agree that demonstrating respect for these students will show them they can trust her and that she cares about their success.
  Posted on: September 21, 2015 2:24 am

ymuXyg
ymuXyg
Reps: 100
I agree with this solution. Students will learn to separate race from individual people. The more we talk about these issues the better everyone understands each other ( and gain more respect as a result).
  Posted on: October 16, 2015 11:24 pm

nydyra
nydyra
Reps: 202
The poems are a way for the students to reach out to each other and educate in their own ways. I'm sure they would be happy and even a little amazed if a white person were willing to listen.
  Posted on: October 17, 2015 7:37 am

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Solution 2
Posted December 6, 2012 11:58 pm

Linda Swinson
Linda Swinson
Reps: 107
Since Gina is student teacher she may want to first speak with the teacher she is working with to find out if the students at this school have the poetry reading often, if so find out if the student get to choose what they read.If Gina feels that it will effect her she may wont to address the fact that she is aware of some of the history and that she to is learning things just like the students there are. As long as she knows she is a teacher and should be concern about her students feelings as a whole no matter what background she should be fine.
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PyveDu
PyveDu
Reps: 101

I think Gina should also talk with her cooperating teacher to figure out what she does since Gina is here learning different strategies from a more qualified teacher. This teacher has the background of working in this type of school and Gina should not feel different working with any children. As a teacher we need to be aware and concerned with how our students are feeling while we are building relationships with them.
  Posted on: October 9, 2014 8:24 pm

Ashley Noe
Ashley Noe
Reps: 99
Really love this solution.
  Posted on: March 1, 2015 7:41 pm

Pamela McBride
Pamela McBride
Reps: 87
I really agree because teachers have to learn to overcome all of our fears. This includes being a minority in a school system. It is about the students and not the teacher. I think that it is a good idea to collaborate with other teachers in the school. It never hurts to get advice or someone else's opinion.
  Posted on: March 9, 2015 1:58 am

ezajaV
ezajaV
Reps: 102
I also think that Gina should talk with the teacher that she is teaching with. She can also let the teacher know how she is feeling and her concerns. The teacher then can let her know the background on the students at that school.
  Posted on: September 14, 2015 12:08 pm

Jasmine Bringuel
Jasmine Bringuel
Reps: 102
I like your solution of Gina speaking with her head teacher about her feelings and finding out more information about the poetry readings. I also agree that she shouldn't be concerned about the poem as long as she has the interest of her students at heart. A teacher wants all their students to succeed and become better at things they feel hinder them.
  Posted on: September 19, 2015 3:32 pm

Amanda Robinson
Amanda Robinson
Reps: 98
I also agree that she should talk to her cooperating teacher. Having that teachers advice could help her. The cooperating teacher knows these students and how they react to things. She can gain advice from her to see how to proceed.
  Posted on: September 21, 2015 12:32 am

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Solution 3
Posted June 2, 2013 8:43 pm

Kyle Chambers
Kyle Chambers
Reps: 68
I would begin by having a class discussion over the poetry reading. Ask questions that cause the students to think about the way the poem made them feel and include a discussion over how far we have come as a society. It is not up to the teacher to decide if this poem reading had any educational value. Each student could walk away with a different emotion because of the poem. It is important for the teacher to tell the class how she felt about the poem and how it caught her attention. This way the students may realize that every race and ethnicity can learn something from this type of art. I would even have the students write their own poems in which they find injustice of any kind and describe their feelings towards them.
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SyQyDu
SyQyDu
Reps: 21
I really like your point. We should always discuss these things with our students and let them digest it according to their own perspectives. I feel that discussing controversial things like this can have an antiseptic effect to its offensiveness. It can give the clear reasoning and purpose to a poem like this.
  Posted on: September 21, 2013 10:12 pm

ePeHyM
ePeHyM
Reps: 105
It is important that the teacher discuss with the students how they poem made them feel and how it made her feel. Opening open to the students and giving them space and time to discuss the poem and its affects will add to her validity as a white teacher in a predominately black school. I agree that it is important that the students determine the educational value of the poem for themselves.
  Posted on: October 4, 2014 7:53 pm

PyveDu
PyveDu
Reps: 101
I think the older our students get we forget that they have personalities, beliefs, and opinions of their own. They are creating their own perspectives on life and what they like. I think it is a good idea to talk with our students about what they would like to do or learn about and their perspectives on it.
  Posted on: October 9, 2014 8:21 pm

egyveW
egyveW
Reps: 103
I agree that having a thoughtful and honest discussion with the students about why they felt like they did could open up a good dialogue and be a great learning experience for the students.
  Posted on: October 23, 2014 8:33 pm

Japuje
Japuje
Reps: 107
I like that you pointed out that each student can walk away with a different emotion after hearing the poem. Different things affect people in different ways and what one person views as unnecessary to education another may view as essential.
  Posted on: September 16, 2015 4:28 pm

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Solution 4
Posted June 2, 2013 9:24 pm

Heidi Landon
Heidi Landon
Reps: 58
I think by using the poem as a starting point, your sister can tie in other cultural/emotionally charged poetry and build off that for a lesson. This will help her understand her students thoughts about oppression and how they may feel about her. This could potentially help her build rapport with students and gain their trust. Understanding that she and her students both face issues is a key to gaining legitimacy.
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HyraLe
HyraLe
Reps: 73
This approach was a little different than the others I have read. You took the situation and made a lesson out of it. I don't think a lot of us thought about it in this aspect to establish legitimacy. I guess we cannot ignore the fact that she is feeling this way as a result of the poem.
  Posted on: October 27, 2014 6:02 am

ezajaV
ezajaV
Reps: 102
I really like your idea of having the poem as a starting point for a lesson. I did not even think of that. I feel by doing this Gina will be able to understand the students better and it might ease her mind some.
  Posted on: September 14, 2015 12:09 pm

ezyHes
ezyHes
Reps: 101
This can open up for discussion of feelings...I like it.
  Posted on: March 5, 2016 7:03 pm

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Solution 5
Posted June 13, 2014 2:43 am

Alicia Garcia
Alicia Garcia
Reps: 69
While I can appreciate that sometimes it would be nice to have more diversity represented by faculty at any given school I don’t really understand how being white calls into question your legitimacy as a teacher. I went to a mostly white middle class high school in Columbus, Georgia. While this is very different from the schools I have served at as a teacher, I did have black teachers there. I did what they asked and didn’t see them as less of a teacher just because we were different. They didn’t seem to think it was an issue so neither did I.
I also can’t see how a poem would remove your legitimacy as a teacher. The history of African Americans in this country has been pretty bad. I think most Americans know that. It isn’t a great reveal like the Wizard of Oz coming out from behind the curtain. It is a brutal American truth that we as a people should stop and consider occasionally so that we understand why our nation is as it is today. This recognition alone has educational value. If we can honor differences among or students with our educational practices then our students will be able to honor and respect us in return regardless of race.
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LeHyZa
LeHyZa
Reps: 107
That is a great example you provided of how having teachers of a different race did not alter your honor and respect for them. Respecting our students cultural differences and teaching the class to embrace each others diverse perspectives will create a healthy and supportive classroom environment. How Gina treats her students will determine her legitimacy as a teacher. She can continue to be a great teacher and continue on uninterrupted .v If Gina feels it is necessary, she can try to change her students perspectives on how cruel the past was by providing examples of peace and collaboration among African Americans and Whites during the volatile time period.
  Posted on: September 15, 2014 11:28 pm

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Solution 6
Posted March 8, 2013 6:26 pm

Robert Batchelor
Robert Batchelor
Reps: 36
The poem absolutely has educational value. Anything can have an educational value. The true question is what is being taught by that poem. Your sister seems to think that the poem was historically true which is a positive. The way this poem was presented also lends value to it because it was presented to an all-school assembly which gives a high level of importance to it. As far as this poem affecting your sister's legitimacy as a white teacher, I believe it could. However, its affect on her largely depends on how she responds to or ignores the poem. I would use this poem as a springboard to start discussions with my students, if I were her. Openly discussing such an often controversial issue could lend credence to her as a teacher (black or white). Letting her students understand her perspective and showing interest in their perspective could also help her to gain a little respect from her students. I handled correctly, I think this poem has more a chance to increase her legitimacy as a teacher than it does to decrease it.
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Johnnie Skelton
Johnnie Skelton
Reps: 104
Yes, using the poem to facilitate an open discussion would be an excellent way to encourage the students to see her as someone who is open to listening to their ideas and who is interested in and attuned to their problems. Ignoring the poem would only contribute to the already prevalent problem of people seeing race issues as problems of the past rather than current issues that demand attention.
  Posted on: June 1, 2013 5:54 pm

yVyLyG
yVyLyG
Reps: 69
I agree, it seems impossible to ignore the poem without somehow legitimizing its negative connotations. Instead acknowledging the poem openly, which his sister openly did anyway, shows acceptance and willingness to move forward, which will gain student respect. I may also remove her seemingly low self-esteem regarding her own legitimacy as a new teacher.
  Posted on: June 2, 2013 11:29 pm

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Solution 7
Posted May 28, 2013 9:01 pm

Nicki Kinner
Nicki Kinner
Reps: 68
I believe poems do have educational value to them. I also believe the color of your skin has nothing to go with being a legitimate teacher. I legitimate teach is a teacher that is effective in the classroom. A teacher should embrace all the cultures that are in the classroom. By treating their students with respect and fairness will make a teacher effective. She must show the students that even though African Americans have been oppressed in the past that their classroom is a safe environment where all students have the same opportunities. Overall, I think if she will do great. If a problem does arise I would hope the administration would back her up.
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vezaMu
vezaMu
Reps: 85
I agree that poems have educational value. I like your description of what is a legitimate teacher. Being a fair teacher who is effective and provides a safe environment will definitely help her standing among her students, regardless of their race.
  Posted on: May 31, 2013 11:40 am

Kyle Chambers
Kyle Chambers
Reps: 68
I agree with Nicki that this poetry reading could be a useful teaching tool in the classroom. I also like your comment about how the classroom should be a safe environment for all racial groups and this should be stressed to the students.
  Posted on: June 2, 2013 8:45 pm

upyNuX
upyNuX
Reps: 100
I love what you are saying about embracing all cultures so that students understand that although African Americans may have been oppressed in the past, the classroom is going to be a safe place for them to be. You can tell these things to students but they really need to see it and live it to truly understand it. Great job!
  Posted on: September 22, 2013 11:12 pm

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Solution 8
Posted May 31, 2013 12:56 pm

Erin Ashurst
Erin Ashurst
Reps: 73
I would tell your sister that it will take time for her to build trust and respect with her students. Those students seemed to have been marginalized by people who don't care about them. She needs to prove to them that she does care about them and values their culture. I believe encouraging poetry is educational because it proves opportunity to express emotions and address them. I would encourage her to share about her experiences as a woman, a group that is sometimes marginalized as well.
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eDaNep
eDaNep
Reps: 66
Good suggestion to make the comparison to women's rights! I'd also add that being willing to ask questions to better understand students from a different culture helps build that trust because they learn that you actually care about them as a person.
  Posted on: June 1, 2013 11:39 pm

Heidi Landon
Heidi Landon
Reps: 58
Good point! By building rapport with her students she will gain trust which will be valuable in the classroom. In addition by showing students she too faces issues (like women's rights) will give her a standing ground to know how to relate to her students.
  Posted on: June 2, 2013 9:19 pm

TuVuze
TuVuze
Reps: 99
You make a valid point. Just because Gina is a White teacher in a predominantly Black school does not mean that she has not been in a position of marginalization. There may be instances wherein she may have felt as if no one cared about her also. In addition to her sharing about her experiences as a woman, she could also share about some life experiences that may be similar to the students she teaches. Then perhaps, she will be able to see some commonalities between her students’ lives and her own, thus alleviating her doubts about her legitimacy as a teacher at the school.
  Posted on: September 22, 2013 10:54 pm

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Solution 9
Posted June 1, 2013 11:47 pm

Stephanie Harmon
Stephanie Harmon
Reps: 84
I definitely think that these poems have educational value in the classroom whether you are the same race as your students or not. I am not proud of the mindset of the European Americans through the history of our culture but I do not think that opinions can be changed unless the issues themselves are addressed. If she shows her students that she is open to discussion I cannot imagine that her legitimacy as a teacher would be questioned. I believe that showing her students that she is different from the oppressive individuals discussed in the poetry could go a long way toward changing negative attitudes amongst races.
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Kelly Jackson
Kelly Jackson
Reps: 103
Yes! Showing the open-mindedness to talk about it is probably the first step. As teachers we must build relationships with our students and if that is how they are feeling and understand the world then we must understand where they are coming from in order to teach them. The easiest way to do that is by asking them questions and talking to them.
  Posted on: June 12, 2013 9:51 am

udydyV
udydyV
Reps: 108
While I agree with your comment, I would say that we, as individuals, should not go out of our way to prove that we are different from other people who share our ethnicity. This is especially true for Gina. She should concentrate on being herself. Inner-city students can spot fakeness from a mile away. Gina should be herself and focus on being the best teacher she can be. Students respect genuineness more so than fake attempts at patronizing.
  Posted on: September 18, 2013 2:12 pm

egyveW
egyveW
Reps: 103
This post is spot on. I think that if the teacher is willing to be open with her students about the issues at hand then she will be seen as a leader and not be questioned.
  Posted on: October 23, 2014 8:35 pm

Daisy Dumler
Daisy Dumler
Reps: 106
I agree she just needs to earn their trust and show them that she's different than the people in the poems.
  Posted on: September 20, 2015 11:28 pm

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Solution 10
Posted March 5, 2014 8:19 pm

Shelly Butler
Shelly Butler
Reps: 37
As a English teacher I am partial to poetry. In my opinion, poems have educational value. If the poems are allowing the students to express themselves it is acceptable for the students to do this. As far as Gina being a legitimate teacher, her being white has nothing to do with determining this situation. She should not even act like the situation of her being white bothers her. The students easily pick up on things such as this. I do not think that she has anything to worry about. If there is every something that happens then hopefully the administrators would back her up.
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Jill Elton
Jill Elton
Reps: 108
I agree that skin color has nothing to do with legitimacy. A good teacher chooses the field of education because he/she wants to teach children and make a difference in the world. Too, I believe that the poem read in the assembly should be discussed in the classroom in the teacher feels lead to do so. It could be a jumping off point to help students open up about their own lives, thoughts, and feelings.
  Posted on: September 14, 2015 1:32 am

uPaSeW
uPaSeW
Reps: 209
I also think that the poems are educational practices and allows the students to express themselves. It is important that she remains confident in knowing that she can do the task at hand which is teaching her students. By allowing them to express themselves, the students will be more willing to respect her which will alleviate the issue of her not being "worthy" of teaching them.
  Posted on: September 21, 2015 2:27 am

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Solution 11
Posted May 29, 2014 8:27 pm

Hannah Nabors
Hannah Nabors
Reps: 68
I am thankful to Gina. She is serving a large need by teaching in an inner-city school. I am also pleased that she approached her job with optimism and purpose. Off topic, I'm curious about the intent of the school assembly. Was the poetry reading the main focus or a supplementary event. Regardless, I think Gina should be mindful of the experience, but not let fear or anxiety take root in her heart. You mention her acceptance of the historical truth of the message, which is vital. It sounds like Gina as already done some self-reflection on her connection to the poem and beliefs about its content, which is excellent. Her next step will be to open up the floor for students to reflect on the poem themselves. This will give Gina a glimpse into how the poem effected each student individually, as well as an idea of how it may have an effect educationally. At the end of the day though, Gina is a teacher in a school, not a white teacher in a Black school. Her legitimacy as a teacher should not (and hopefully will not) be based on her color, but rather her talents, skills, and educational knowledge. I would encourage Gina to continue to be sensitive to student opinion and knowledgeable of racial contexts, but to remember that the administration chose her, among all other candidates, to be the one to teach her students.
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Megan Teague
Megan Teague
Reps: 55
I like your idea of having the student reflect. I think Gina should also let her students know how the poem made her feel. Her doubts could actually be a discussion.
  Posted on: May 30, 2014 11:35 pm

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Solution 12
Posted May 29, 2014 9:28 pm

Krissy Chance-Bailey
Krissy Chance-Bailey
Reps: 65
I saw an illustration of this in a poem called "Knock Knock" today in a class of cultural diversity for all paraprofessionals in my county. I was moved by this poem as well, tears and all. I would explain to your sister to build a relationship with her students. Sure there is cultural diversity but, learning the language, building relationships and being a good listener are three starters.Before being discouraged, understand the cultures plight,attempt to understand where the students are coming from. There are always teachable moments.
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Cardia Foster
Cardia Foster
Reps: 73
I agree with you, its all about building that trust with your students. Gina may be an individual that will inspire a child and be a role model to the students. She should never feel discourage or out of place. Even though it may seem challenging, she should countinue to be optimistic and remeber her purpose.
  Posted on: May 31, 2014 11:10 pm

Tiffany Parker
Tiffany Parker
Reps: 69
I love your comment, "There are always teachable moments!" I completely agree with you. It is important for Gina to use this time to relate to her students and teach her students about cultural backgrounds. Gina could start by expressing her respect for her students.
  Posted on: June 1, 2014 12:56 am

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Solution 13
Posted September 22, 2014 1:16 am

Qureby
Qureby
Reps: 102
Gina should not worry about her legitimacy as a white teacher. Since she was moved by the poem I think that shows that she is aware of her role in the dominant culture and how that impacts her interactions with her students. Furthermore, I do think that such poetry has educational value because not only does it present historical information in a way that may be more accessible to some students it also shows students that they can use different outlets to express themselves. I think Gina should take this as an opportunity to have an honest discussion with her students about the history of different cultural groups in the US.
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Jordan Nelms
Jordan Nelms
Reps: 104
I agree that she was probably moved because she is aware that she is part of a majority race, and will be working with a minority group. You are right, this has nothing to do with her legitimacy in the classroom.
  Posted on: October 20, 2014 4:11 am

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Solution 14
Posted March 11, 2015 5:34 pm

ebyHyp
ebyHyp
Reps: 38
I don't think the teacher needs to worry about her ethnicity while teaching. A good teacher is a good teacher regardless of the race. Teachers should acknowledge history and create teachable moments for the students. Using the past events and relating it to current events in the society is a good teaching strategy. Questions like: How did the African Americans feel about the oppression? What are some current events that might be resulting in the oppression of some groups of people today? What can we do about those issues today?
I think learning from the past events and using them as a reference to address current events will help students think and learn from historical events.
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Solution 15
Posted March 13, 2015 11:42 pm

Angela Thornton
Angela Thornton
Reps: 41
At the end of the day educators must decide individually as to his or her educational philosophy. My personal philosophy is that I am at the school to my students and meet each one at his or her point of need. In order to more fully understand the community and students body, this type of reading provides insight into the climate and community. Your sister cannot worry about her legitimacy; otherwise, she will be fighting a battle that is not hers to fight. In my opinion, it is her job to go in there every day and provide a safe, consistent environment where students are respected. I am a Caucasian female whose friends laugh and nod when I say, "I love my thugs!" I do. I really, really do. When kids of any color know that you are there for them and have their best interests at heart, you can talk about just about anything in their class. There is not any subject that is school appropriate that is off-limits, but that type of atmosphere is cultivated through the fire of consistency and respect especially when your buttons are pushed and respect is the last thing you want to give. I have found that knowing my kids is the most important thing I can do for their education and my self-respect. Sometimes it means going in early or staying late. Sometimes it means late nights at football games, soccer games, basketball games and various competitions. Kids know if you are there and they know if you care. You can't fake that stuff! Your sister may be the only white teacher these kids ever have that shift their paradigm of the European American majority. She can be a voice of change, but it's not a trumpet. The voice is a whisper that speaks to every individual student providing dignity and respect on his or her level. This voice is not a once a year occasion, but it is a daily whisper saying, "I see you. I like you. I will do whatever it takes to see you win, but I will not do it for you. Now, what can I do?" At the end of the day the poem, poems like the one you mentioned provide insight into the culture of the school; however, until one establishes his or her voice in the whisper of the classroom, he or she cannot blow the trumpet of protest at the first sign of trouble. Wait and see where that poem leads. Get a copy of the poem and bide your time until you've paid for the respect you already should have. When that time comes, you will know and you can re-visit that poem in order to bring about a healthy conversation about race that is so desperately needed in increasingly polarized nation.
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Solution 16
Posted December 7, 2012 4:15 pm

Sarah Hogan Johnson
Sarah Hogan Johnson
Reps: 162
I don't think your sister should worry about her legitimacy as a white teacher. If she was moved by the poem and appreciated it, it must have been significant to her. She could take this opportunity to discuss white privilege with her students. She could discuss the dominant culture and what could be done to change the oppression of dominated cultures in America. I think these poems do have educational value and they present an opportunity to learn.
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Erin Ashurst
Erin Ashurst
Reps: 73
I appreciate your comment about discussing white privilege with her students. Students would really value that their teacher is being real and candid with them about things people don't like talking about.
  Posted on: May 31, 2013 1:01 pm

Monique Cook
Monique Cook
Reps: 70
Great time to incorporate white privilege and the dominating culture!
  Posted on: June 2, 2013 4:41 pm

yJaGus
yJaGus
Reps: 106
This a great way to see things. Incorporate all oppressed races and compare how things could be different for all. Great post!
  Posted on: September 22, 2013 3:17 pm

TuVuze
TuVuze
Reps: 99
I agree. These poems do have educational value. This was illustrated by the fact that by hearing the poem, it caused Gina to question her legitimacy as a teacher. They do present an opportunity for learning if they are not dismissed as being irrelevant. By hearing the poem and questioning her legitimacy as a teacher, Gina was presented with an opportunity to learn about herself by exploring her thoughts in relation to the poem.
  Posted on: September 22, 2013 10:41 pm

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Solution 17
Posted November 29, 2012 8:19 pm

Ashley Williams
Ashley Williams
Reps: 118
I think that any kind of poem has an educational purpose because it is something that every child learns about in English class. It is an art form; a means of expressing yourself. However, depending on what subject Gina teaches she could capitalize on the opportunity and talk about the oppression of other races for example: The Native Americans.
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Kyle Chambers
Kyle Chambers
Reps: 68
I like the idea of turning the poetry into a teaching tool about the oppression of other groups, like Native Americans. It is important for the students to see how all groups have had some kind of oppression in the past.
  Posted on: June 2, 2013 8:46 pm

Kelly Jackson
Kelly Jackson
Reps: 103
I agree. Using this poem as a jumping off point to talk about emotional poems from all races is a great idea. The students can see the perspective of people who are the same and different race. I think the big picture here is to see the human side of the poem and the struggle of life.
  Posted on: June 12, 2013 10:02 am

BeWuXe
BeWuXe
Reps: 117
In addition to adding poetry focusing on other cultural groups, poems can also be discussed that focus on other topics. These topics could include a focus on gender or socioeconomic status. It is important to show the students that other states of oppression exist other than just those focusing on race.
  Posted on: September 15, 2013 10:25 pm

Jasmine Bringuel
Jasmine Bringuel
Reps: 102
I like your approach of teaching the students about other cultures that have been suppressed as well. This is a great teaching tool to build off of.
  Posted on: September 19, 2015 3:35 pm

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Solution 18
Posted December 8, 2012 7:13 pm

Ariane Anderson
Ariane Anderson
Reps: 113
The poem painted a picture of the oppression of the African Americans by the European American majority is a true fact in history. By her reading the poem to the students she is making them aware of their history. The poem has educational value because it describes accurate events that happened in United State history. She should not worry about her legitimacy as a White teacher, if anything it possibly made her students respect her more because she is discussing the topic.
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Emilee Roberts
Emilee Roberts
Reps: 69
I think that by introducing a real peice of thier history could have possibly opened thier eyes to thier own backgound. Many students, black or white, do not know each peice of thier history. By using literature to discuss this topic opens up a free and safe zone to do so.
  Posted on: May 29, 2013 1:34 pm

Cierra` Barksdale
Cierra` Barksdale
Reps: 61
I agree. Various events in history have to be taught and I would use this as an opportunity to further connect with my students. I would ask them about their cultures and backgrounds and explain how we are all different, but that makes us unique.
  Posted on: June 2, 2014 2:13 am

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Solution 19
Posted February 17, 2013 6:07 pm

Laura Goodwin
Laura Goodwin
Reps: 53
I think that those poems do have some educational value because that is unfortunately the way a lot of our society works and has worked in the past. I don't think she needs to worry about her legitimacy as a White teacher. She needs to be open about the situation in her classroom. I think it would do more damage to deny the truth of the poem and ignore it than to just face the problem head-on. A classroom needs to be a community of learners. If your sister can make her classroom a community and learn about her students and their lives then she will be fine. If she shows that she really cares about her students then there will be no reason for her students to think that she is trying to be oppressive. Overall, I am sure she will be fine. If the problem arises then she needs to address it for the sake of the classroom and for the sake of her students' views on whites as they get older.
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HaBuMu
HaBuMu
Reps: 52
I like your idea of establishing a community for her classroom. By aspiring to do this, she will show her support for the students and establish mutual respect by all involved.
  Posted on: September 21, 2014 10:44 pm

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Solution 20
Posted March 5, 2013 12:54 pm

N Lewis
N Lewis
Reps: 40
Your sister should not worry about the legitimacy of her position as a teacher in this particular setting or any setting in which she is deemed the minority. The poetry reading seems to be an opportunity for students to express themselves or discuss issues that relate to their culture/personal experience. At times, opportunities exist to encourage student participation or students to display skills and talents that are not allowed in other places. Your sister should continue her training as a teacher and continue to understand the many events that are displayed in schools (such as the poetry readings) are activities that encourage students to express themselves and celebrate their culture in a positive manner.
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Brittany Smith
Brittany Smith
Reps: 69
I agree with your comment. This woman should not feel inadequate because she is a minority. I think she should also encourage her students to express themselves through activities that are similar to the poetry reading, and she should also encourage a multicultural perspective when teaching her students. This will help them understand how other cultures view the events that they are expressing their opinions on through activities like these poetry readings.
  Posted on: May 28, 2013 9:30 pm

VyQaqu
VyQaqu
Reps: 71
I agree. This is a poem being read at an assembly. She should not let a poem about the history of the country take her off of her path. She should strive to do the very best job she can; just like all of the educators in the school. If she is there for the right reasons, she should be fine.
  Posted on: May 31, 2013 5:16 pm

ePeHyM
ePeHyM
Reps: 105
I agree with your comment. This was just an opportunity for the students to express her feeling and she should not allow this to deter her from teaching. She could even encourage a discussion about the poem in her own classroom, allowing the student to express how it made them feel.
  Posted on: October 4, 2014 7:55 pm

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Solution 21
Posted March 10, 2013 10:44 am

Johnnie Skelton
Johnnie Skelton
Reps: 104
Your sister’s legitimacy as a teacher is not in question, and her internalization of this issue is a testament to her cultural sensitivity. I think that open, honest dialogue with the students is the best approach to dealing with her feelings of self-doubt. Many people of European descent shy away from the issue of race because of feelings of guilt and fear that they are seen as part of the problem. If White people can’t acknowledge and address the issues surrounding racism, we are being part of the problem.
Your sister is right to be concerned about how she is perceived by students. Some students may have prior experiences which make them less likely to relate to a White, female teacher. (We must take into account that one of the most high-risk demographic groups is that of Black, male students.) In order for our students to be willing to learn from us, we have to show them that what we are presenting is relevant to their lives; therefore, we should make an effort to relate to our students personally. African American students know that racism is real. If White teachers come across to them as if they are ignoring or denying that fact, we give them the impression that we don’t know much about their lives and therefore must not have much to teach them that will be useful to them.
If she has the authority as a student teacher to alter a lesson in order to integrate a discussion of the poem into the curriculum, she would be giving the students an opportunity to get to know her as an individual. Perhaps she could even share some literature (or music or art) which would connect to the poem in a meaningful way. This will help her to represent herself as the students’ ally rather than as being just another part of the oppressive majority.
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yheraZ
yheraZ
Reps: 68
I agree, she defiantly has the right to be concerned how her student perceives her and I think this is also a great opportunity to work on that perception. I defiantly agree that by ignoring this issue and avoiding the discussion with students she could be perceived as part of the problem, I think this is the perfect opportunity if possible for her to let her students express their feelings and have her share hers as well so that they can hopefully create a trust between one another.
  Posted on: May 28, 2013 7:23 pm

Monique Cook
Monique Cook
Reps: 70
Very true! Not approaching the subject will not make anything better. She should be proactive in the situation and use it as a learning lesson. Yes, this terrible thing happened in the past, but what can we do now?
  Posted on: June 2, 2013 4:39 pm

Kimberly Spicer
Kimberly Spicer
Reps: 71
I totally agree with this solution! She should not shy away from the fact that she is a white teacher in a predominately black school and act as if she shouldn't be there because she is "different" from her students. The students will totally pick up on this and walk all over her if she lets them think she doesn't belong there.
  Posted on: June 2, 2013 10:54 pm

Sara LeClair
Sara LeClair
Reps: 68
I agree that she must not let the poem define her as a teacher. Yes, this may make it more difficult for her to prove herself, but it should not hinder her goals and dreams at this specific school. She will learn and grow from this awkward experience she is enduring, and eventually she may gain more respect as a White female teacher.
  Posted on: May 29, 2014 1:42 pm

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Solution 22
Posted March 13, 2013 7:31 pm

Jennifer Spitko
Jennifer Spitko
Reps: 61
I believe that all poetry can have educational value in schools if it is used to express feelings, start discussions, or is analyzed for its literary value. I do not think that a teacher’s legitimacy can be threatened by a poem, novel, or artwork that depicts a historical event; however, the teacher’s reaction to sensitive topics can affect his or her legitimacy. I do not think that Gina’s legitimacy has anything to do with her race or the race of her students. Like all teachers, she will have to convince her students of her legitimacy by showing them that she respects all of her students regardless of their race or background, values individuality, and is knowledgeable and sensitive to the needs of students of all races. If Gina can relate to her students, she will earn their respect.
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Erin Ashurst
Erin Ashurst
Reps: 73
I agree that the way Gina reacts to the poem would affect her legitimacy. Hearing hard truths and addressing them openly and honestly is the best way to move forward. She needs to be prepared for some students to not trust her, but that most will respond to her efforts to be a good, caring teacher.
  Posted on: May 31, 2013 12:59 pm

Stephanie Harmon
Stephanie Harmon
Reps: 84
I completely agree that it is the reaction to the poetry that would impact Gina's legitimacy in the classroom as opposed the the poetry itself. If her students see that she is uncomfortable or agitated by the poem, then they are going to have issues with her and their views of her as a teacher would likely change. If, on the other hand, she shows positive reactions and support for her students I cannot see that any legitimacy or respect could be questioned or lost.
  Posted on: June 1, 2013 11:52 pm

Kimberly Spicer
Kimberly Spicer
Reps: 71
I definitely agree with this solution. You can't just tell students that you are legitimate. They are much more skeptical than adults. She needs to show them she is legit. She shouldn't feel inadequate either because if she loves what she does and cares about what she does, then she should believe she can do a great job with any person.
  Posted on: June 2, 2013 11:10 pm

ezasyp
ezasyp
Reps: 107
I love how you stated that a teacher's reaction can affect her legitimacy as a teacher. I completely agree with this statement. Students will respect you as a teacher (if they respect teachers in general) because of who you are not what race you are. If you give reason for students to question you as a teacher then they begin to question your legitimacy! Good post!
  Posted on: September 12, 2014 5:59 pm

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Solution 23
Posted March 14, 2013 9:54 am

Terry Sanford
Terry Sanford
Reps: 41
The presentation of this poem should not affect whether or not she approaches her job with optimism and purpose. As far as the educational effects of the poem, she needs to look at the content of the words, the historical accuracy behind it, the time period, and determine the relevance of the poem or is it just rhetoric. If it is rhetoric, there is no educational value as to her legitimacy as a white teacher. Her legitimacy as a white teacher is determined by her knowledge, professionalism, how well she can relate to the kids, and how effective she can deliver the instruction. Students today are savvy enough to know white people were not slave owners, and the presentation was a way for African American students to embrace their culture.
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aHeRaL
aHeRaL
Reps: 112
I agree that the purpose of reading the poem really goes a long way in determining its educational value. As long as it is kept within the context of a learning experience (whether historical or literary) then there should be no problem. I also agree that Gina's legitimacy will be determined by her professionalism. Regardless of color, or cultural background for that matter, her effectiveness in the classroom will determine will be the determining factor. The worst thing that Gina could do is focus on the differences between herself and her students. Instead, see everyone as people, approach them and treat them that way, and all should (hopefully) be fine.
  Posted on: September 17, 2014 4:10 pm

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Solution 24
Posted March 15, 2013 1:02 pm

Cynthia Vaughan
Cynthia Vaughan
Reps: 40
I think that poems, like the one read, do have significant educational value. It gives insight to how people were thinking and feeling during certain time periods in history. I think that learning poems, such as on the one in the example, would not hurt your sisters legitimacy. I think it would have the opposite effect. Your sister has the opportunity to show her students how far American has come just by the way she presents herself and how she interacts with them.
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yheraZ
yheraZ
Reps: 68
I completely agree with you and your response is very well stated. I do also think that being exposed to pieces of literature from different time periods and about different time periods in our history do have significant educational value.
  Posted on: May 28, 2013 7:03 pm

gyjyjy
gyjyjy
Reps: 71
I agree that poems can have significant educational value. Students should be exposed to pieces of literature from different time periods and asked to analyze the meaning of the literature. I believe that GIna could have her students complete a journal entry on the poem, so they can express their thoughts, feelings, or concerns that they may have. Students can discuss the meaning of the poem, what it meant to people during that time period, what it means to them today, and how did it make them feel. I agree that it is then up to Gina to show her students who she is and that she is there to educate everyone equally. You can also bring in more pieces of literature such as songs and novels from this time period to analyze and to show students that this is an important era and in our history.
  Posted on: May 30, 2013 8:19 pm

Stephanie Harmon
Stephanie Harmon
Reps: 84
I agree that poems like this give special insight into difficult periods in our nation's history. Unfortunate things happen throughout history and though we may regret them now, they cannot be swept under the rug and ignored. That type of behavior only fosters resentment. I also agree that she has the opportunity to demonstrate through her own behavior how far we have come to overcome racial issues.
  Posted on: June 1, 2013 11:49 pm

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Solution 25
Posted March 15, 2013 1:03 pm

Lori Lancaster
Lori Lancaster
Reps: 38
Poetry in any form can have educational value. With a few of my fifth graders, any type of reading proves to be valuable. I certainly understand her concern over the poem and whether or not the poem will affect how students will feel about her. I think that most students trust the people that earn that trust. If she is as caring as she seems to be, she will win trust and respect from the students. It is a shame that race issues, black or white, still exist, but that is the world we live in. It would be awesome if the world was truly color blind when it comes to people. I think of trust as an emotional bank account and every day I put a deposit into my students' accounts. When I get angry with them or they get angry with me, there is still a great deal of trust there because of this account. Students will grow to trust her and understand her. It may take time, but it is something that we all go through even when race is not the issue.
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Tracy C
Tracy C
Reps: 104
Trust is indeed an issue for us teachers. Whether you are black or white, Mexican or Latino, Native Indian or whatever else, I have learned that you will never be legitimized or respected as an influencer of students until you have earned their trust. To achieve this goal, we must first be true to our own cultural values; then we should be open and willing to explore and accept the cultural values of all our students. We certainly may not be able to relate to the formation of our students' cultural heritage, but we can show them that we respect and honor it in our classrooms.
  Posted on: September 18, 2013 11:12 pm

Amy Fletcher
Amy Fletcher
Reps: 67
You are so right about how race is an issue that we all face today even though many people before us fought for equality. I really liked the comment you made that all people should be "color blind" so that we don't know the color. Race is something that should not matter but does and somehow as teachers we need to try and kids to look beyond that to see the meaning of great poetry.
  Posted on: May 29, 2014 4:13 pm

Alicia Garcia
Alicia Garcia
Reps: 69
I agree with Tracy and Lori. Trust is something we earn from kids. During the course of a year there is a lot of give and take. Sometimes a kid has a bad day. Sometimes you do. Students are often remarkably intuitive in that they generally seem to know if you have their best interest at heart.

I will also add I was fortunate to have an young black graduate student work with me in my science class this year as part of a national science foundation grant. She was pursuing a MS in molecular biology and came in to help me teach labs once a week. In science in particular minorities are underrepresented which sends a silent message to students that science may not be for them (a shame!). Some of my students did verbally express both pleasure and surprise at having a young African American woman serving as a scientist in their classroom. Working with a fellow scientist of a different race did help to engage some of my kids but it never made me feel less legitimate as the teacher in the classroom.
  Posted on: June 13, 2014 2:58 am

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Solution 26
Posted May 28, 2013 9:20 pm

Brittany Smith
Brittany Smith
Reps: 69
A person's value is not found in his or her skin color, nationality, or gender. If your sister has had adequate training and is qualified to work in an inner-city school, then she is fully able and worthy to teach in an all black school. She may have to work to gain the trust and respect of her students, but if she is fair, honest, and respectful she should not have many problems. It is important for her to create intriguing lessons that her students can relate to and that will give them a multicultural view of the world and history in general. It is important that her students understand that many things that happened in the past are a product of society's way of thinking. They also need to understand how everyone has experienced discrimination at some point whether it is racial, social, religious, or gender related. Above all else, she should not allow herself to feel guilty about a past that she had no control over. If she wants to teach her students successfully, she needs to go in believing that everyone is equal and have high expectations for both her students and herself.
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Tracy C
Tracy C
Reps: 104
In all honesty, graduating from a teacher education program doesn't mean you are truly equipped to teach in a classroom; this will come with experience. Also, if we are going to teach students who differ from our cultural identity, there is much we must take into account if we are going to effectively reach and teach our students. To begin with, we must teach with integrity - we must teach the truth to our students. Therefore, saying that everyone is equal is incorrect, and don't be fooled, many of our students know what goes on in the world outside of school. With that said, I propose, with high expectations and standards in mind, we incorporate the teaching of cultural diversity with the goal of developing awareness and respect for cultural differences. We also teach them the realities of the inequalities that exist in our society with the hope of them each taking a personal stand to rise above such disparities.
  Posted on: September 18, 2013 11:38 pm

upyNuX
upyNuX
Reps: 100
You make a great point about the past being something she has no control over. Maybe she could use that as a way to begin a discussion within the classroom to discuss the validity of blaming some here in the present for something that happened in the past.
  Posted on: September 22, 2013 11:16 pm

Kristen Eason
Kristen Eason
Reps: 57
Good point! I feel that she may want to get to know the students and staff members on a more personal level before making any huge judgment calls. Gina should promote and support culture diversity among her students. Gina will learn to gain better teaching strategies to cope with situations like this the more she teaches and gains experience.
  Posted on: May 27, 2014 11:42 pm

ynaHah
ynaHah
Reps: 100
So true. Great solutions
  Posted on: July 3, 2017 7:15 pm

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Solution 27
Posted June 2, 2013 1:37 am

Love Joy
Love Joy
Reps: 78
Being presented with the opportunity to read this poem as a student teacher can be the light that shines on the rest of your career or the light that goes out for the rest of your career. I think the tone it is read and the understanding behind the poem should all be of utmost importance. Giving a little background of the poem before reading it will ease all of those fears. It will also let the students know that she is not reading it for wrong reasons but for a meaningful and educational lesson. I think it will open up more discussion after the assembly and if not it is her opportunity to open up the discussion. This could be the light that shines on her career.
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Solution 28
Posted June 4, 2013 7:17 pm

qyzeha
qyzeha
Reps: 105
I don't think that she should worry about her legitimacy as a white teacher in a black school. I think it is wonderful that she was moved by the poem and that she accepted the historical significance. She has the opportunity to share her thoughts after hearing the poem, and to tell her students how much it moved her. This could help them understand that even though she's white and doesn't agree with what happened in history, everyone has to accept that it happened and work to make sure people of all cultures are treated equally in the future.
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HaBuMu
HaBuMu
Reps: 52
I really like the idea of sharing her feelings and emotions with the class. This would show the students that she has a caring heart and that although she is white, she identifies with their oppression and does not agree with the events causing it. This could open up a discussion that enables her to develop a relationship with her class.
  Posted on: September 21, 2014 10:47 pm

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Solution 29
Posted June 12, 2013 9:59 am

Kelly Jackson
Kelly Jackson
Reps: 103
That can definitely be a tough situation. I was in a similar situation not too long ago. I think the most important thing is to get to know your students and not be afraid to bring their culture into your classroom. This is how we make our students feel accepted and comfortable and so it shouldn't change when is about race. We still talk to them about it, letting them express themselves, so that a relationship and sense of community can be built. Some black students are rather hesitant of white teachers, they may have historical reasons for that. But over time trust will begin to form and the students will gain respect for the new white teacher.
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A Battles
A Battles
Reps: 115
When I was working in a predominantly black school there were times where the students and I would talk about our differences. One day they all thought I was crazy for washing my hair every single day. It worked well to build a student staff relationship because we genuinely were interested in different aspects of our lives. I did feel quite respected by the students (which I feel as my first year working with severe EBD children was quite an accomplishment.)
  Posted on: September 20, 2013 10:22 pm

Jessica Briley
Jessica Briley
Reps: 109
I like this idea of being open about the differences everyone has in the classroom. I think this provides a "community" feel and allows the students to trust the teacher with information about their lives. Once the students realize that the teacher wants to learn more about them, they may feel more inclined to learn more about her.
  Posted on: September 22, 2013 12:19 pm

Qybuse
Qybuse
Reps: 118
I think it is so interesting that you mention hair, because that is something that my African American girls always want to talk to me about. We have had countless conversations on the playground about how I wash and style my hair everyday, and that we call getting a "perm" something we do when we want our hair curly, but they call getting a "perm" what they want done when they want their hair straight. I have even let them braid my hair before as a reward for them meeting a certain goal that they had set.

All in all, it's just hair, but these open conversations show that I am interested in my students' lives and I care about who they are and where they come from. Building that rapport has taken me further as a teacher than any classroom management or teaching strategy ever will. My students know that I appreciate our differences, and I am open to hearing their ideas or beliefs.
  Posted on: September 21, 2015 12:52 am

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Solution 30
Posted September 12, 2013 3:53 pm

SyQyDu
SyQyDu
Reps: 21
Poems always have educational value as far as I am concerned. We as a society tend to depreciate the value of art. Poems are a form of art, and expression that cannot be found in many other outlets. As a result I feel she should continue to use it, and explain its point to her students. She should refrain from getting too wrapped up in her legitimacy and focus on her students and her lessons. She should maintain focus and work hard for those students and expose them to multicultural issues across the board. She will give her students perspective and comprehension of such complex issues such as the emotionally charged problems of racism.
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BazuTy
BazuTy
Reps: 116
I can only agree with your solution. This is a great solution. She should not get wrapped up in worrying about her legitimacy, but focus on providing the students with lessons and activities that relate to the students' fund of knowledge. Yes multicultural educations should be a essential requirement when implementing curriculum for schools.
  Posted on: September 19, 2013 10:14 pm

Josh Oglesby
Josh Oglesby
Reps: 69
I agree that poetry, as with any other form of writing, can be a great way of teaching and allowing one to express their self. A question i would honestly ask is what if the roles were reversed and it were a predominantly white school and a black student teacher were present? Would he/she feel out of place? My answer would be the same in that they should feel nothing from this poem other than understanding of the historical context.
  Posted on: May 27, 2014 7:01 pm

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Solution 31
Posted September 14, 2013 12:03 pm

A Battles
A Battles
Reps: 115
Whether the poem has any educational value or not, I believe it is wonderful for students to have an outlet for things. If the poem was not educational but provided a way for the student to express feelings then I believe its a wonderful thing. As for worrying about her legitimacy as a teacher, this also should not be a problem. She cannot help how the students react to the poem and may react to her. All she can do is to be herself and do the best she can to help the kids be successful.

This is quite personal for me. During my first job I, was one of the only white people there (between staff and students)and I knew this before accepting the job. It did not concern me personally but I was worried how the students would accept me as being a white male in an authoritative role. I entered the job as myself and I never once felt I was a victim of discrimination by the students. If they got upset they'd say things about me being white while cursing me out but it never was a legitimate issue.
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BazuTy
BazuTy
Reps: 116
Being novice to the field of education is challenging to anybody. It has nothing to do with race or gender, if the students can seek out the teacher's weakest they will take advantage. Gina has to play cool even though she is a little rattled. That's are comes in play of being a novice teacher.
  Posted on: September 22, 2013 11:57 pm

Sara LeClair
Sara LeClair
Reps: 68
You are correct- racial events still happen everywhere, whether it is in a predominately white or black school. People have their own opinions and beliefs, usually based somewhat on what their parents instill in them. As a teacher, you have to deal with these issues daily, but it makes you a stronger, more efficient teacher in the long run.
  Posted on: May 29, 2014 1:44 pm

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Solution 32
Posted September 14, 2013 6:31 pm

Jordyn Nail
Jordyn Nail
Reps: 108
It's important that your sister show the students that she is on their side and she understands them. She can talk about the poem and it's historical significance. Here, she can show that she gets it and that she is acknowledging what their and her ancestors went through. That would go a long way with her students and she would earn respect from them.
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Stormye Brantley
Stormye Brantley
Reps: 121
I agree that trying to show them she understands would be helpful. It may also help the students to realize their is another perspective-- I am sure she feels "bad" for some of the things her ancestors may have done. However, by having a good relationship with her students and showing them it is ok to have differing opinions, the learning may increase. She should not try to censor the poems. She should feel confident they were willing to share that information with her.
  Posted on: September 15, 2013 9:38 pm

jaMyDu
jaMyDu
Reps: 119
I agree and feel that Gina could use this as an opportunity to begin to build relationships with her students. I also believe that she needs to teach them that poetry is art. Everyone will interpret the poem somewhat differently. So, with that being said, I believe that this opens the door for a great discussion. I believe that this discussion will allow the students to express themselves and really feel that their voice is being heard. Gina could then share with them how the poem made her feel. No doubt it will probably make her feel the same way. She could discuss the term 'oppression' and what it means. They could then discuss the historical relevance and the educational merit of the poem itself. They could take the poem and look for examples of rhyme, alliteration, onomatopoeia, simile, metaphor, and/or personification. She could have them even try to write a poem about a time in their lives when they felt that they were oppressed or treated unfairly. Great opportunity to extend on the assembly's poem.
  Posted on: September 22, 2013 10:59 pm

Nick Hanna
Nick Hanna
Reps: 71

I really like how you said she should talk about the students ancestors and her own. I am sure this is frequently over looked and not seen as important, but it helps the students get a better perspective of the situation. Very good idea!
  Posted on: June 12, 2014 2:12 pm

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Solution 33
Posted September 15, 2013 9:33 pm

Stormye Brantley
Stormye Brantley
Reps: 121
I believe Gina needs to seek out the optimism and purpose she originally started with! I can understand her reservations and concerns after the assembly. However, I believe as long as Gina tries to understand her students and create lessons that are relevant for her inner city African American students, then there should not be a problem. By better understanding the oppression the students may be feeling, Gina may also be a positive role model for the students, regardless of her skin color or background. If Gina were my sister, I would encourage her to stay optimistic and talk to the other teachers about the best teaching strategies and other things.
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Jordyn Nail
Jordyn Nail
Reps: 108
Great response and I agree. A positive attitude will go a long way with her students and create a comfortable atmosphere for all.
  Posted on: September 21, 2013 3:39 pm

aQazuV
aQazuV
Reps: 105
I agree that Gina should not lose the passion she has for educating others. She should use this passion to overcome the diversity. Gina could definitely be a positive role model in these students' lives and help them succeed in ways others may not. Although it will be challenging until she understand how to fully reach the children best, the rewards will be worth it.
  Posted on: September 17, 2014 12:27 am

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Solution 34
Posted September 22, 2013 12:21 pm

Jessica Briley
Jessica Briley
Reps: 109
I don't think the teacher should feel worried about her legitmacy as a teacher in this school. I think she should be open about feelings and allow her students to express themselves, but she should help them learn that we are all human and we are here to progress not regress to the past. Once the students realize she is there to help them grow as individuals, no matter what their race is, I think they will respect her. I think if she is open and honest about all of their differences they will see her in a different light. Also, not all students may feel like this one student feels. She may just need some extra encouragement to trust the teacher.
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Rachel Walker
Rachel Walker
Reps: 60
I agree with you that the main thing for Gina to do is to share her feelings. I believe she should talk with her mentor teacher about it first. She could also talk with the students about how the assembly and poetry reading made them feel and then also share her feelings. If she doesn’t share her feelings/apprehension with someone it could possibly lead to worsening the situation because the students will be able to notice something is wrong.
  Posted on: May 27, 2014 11:47 pm

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Solution 35
Posted March 11, 2014 1:37 am

Alaina Hughey
Alaina Hughey
Reps: 35
As an African American teacher, I feel that it is hard to tell Gina what to do in this situation. I do not think that Gina should worry about her legitimacy as a White teacher because what’s more important is what’s in her heart. If Gina loves teaching and working in a predominately Black school, that’s all that matters. Gina could take the opportunity to teach students about difference and help them students embrace diversity. Just because the poem painted a picture of oppression and moved Gina, I don’t think she needs to question anything; Gina should continue to do her job and maintain the level of optimism and purpose she had when she initially accepted the position. Gina shouldn’t let anything or anyone make her doubt her purpose.
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wendy burns
wendy burns
Reps: 80
I agree with your comment. I don't believe she should worry about her legitimacy as a teacher. If anything, her empathy for others is shining through which is a good quality for a teacher to have.
  Posted on: May 30, 2014 1:18 am

Megan Teague
Megan Teague
Reps: 55
I agree. I do not believe that someone’s legitimacy is within his or her skin color. If Gina has an open mind toward all students and all cultures, and all races, her legitimacy should not be questioned.
  Posted on: May 30, 2014 11:32 pm

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Solution 36
Posted March 12, 2014 12:48 pm

Ethan Burke
Ethan Burke
Reps: 39
I think that the poem does have intellectual value because it helps teach students how to express themselves. I do not think that your sister should worry about her legitimacy as a teacher though. If the environment of the class is right, she may be able to use the poem as a spring board for discussion on the views of African Americans and European Americans. She could discuss how times have and have not changed. But as I said, I think that the environment has to be right to have this discussion- not all students in all classrooms are able to speak respectfully.
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Chelsea Abbott
Chelsea Abbott
Reps: 112
I agree that Gina's legitimacy as a white teacher should not be questioned. She has to understand how the children are feeling before she can ask them to trust her into the school. I think that by taking interest in the children, she can gain trust in their lives. The poems do give value because it is how they express themselves.
  Posted on: September 9, 2015 7:25 pm

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Solution 37
Posted May 25, 2014 9:48 pm

Laura Toft
Laura Toft
Reps: 71
Gina's response to the poem is natural. Being a white teacher in a predominately Black school has given me similar moments of doubt when Black History month comes around in February, but it's something we have to embrace and move with. Knowing that Gina is making a difference and using her skills to help better people who have been oppressed over the years should make her proud. The actions of the past cannot stifle our future. Gina needs to embrace the past and use that to fuel her desire to because an even better teacher. Regardless of what color our students are, their ancestors have been impacted by other nationalities in some part of the past. This would be no different than a white German teacher doubting if he/she is qualified to teach students of the Jewish religion. It's not about the color, it's about our impact in the world today.
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Caley Copeland
Caley Copeland
Reps: 69
Laura,
It sounds like you have some good insight as to how she was feeling being in a similar situation yourself. I agree that Gina needs to focus on her skills as a teacher and how she can make the biggest difference in the lives of her students. She can still be a great teacher to her students even if she has a different background from them.
  Posted on: May 31, 2014 4:01 am

Tiffany Parker
Tiffany Parker
Reps: 69
I completely agree with you. This situation should not make her feel that she is not making a difference in her students' lives. I think it is important for Gina to use this time to relate to her students and show her respect for their cultural backgrounds.
  Posted on: June 1, 2014 12:54 am

Ashley Mays
Ashley Mays
Reps: 64
Laura, I completely agree with your post. I like how you said that it is not about the color of our skin, but the impact that we have on the world today. I think you are absolutely correct and that I feel that is how Gina should take on this situation.
  Posted on: June 2, 2014 1:34 am

aHeRaL
aHeRaL
Reps: 112
I am sure the way Gina feels (and the way you felt Laura) is the same as any teacher who finds themselves in a similar situation. Being the "other" in any situation can be unnerving and difficult. However, in the world we live in, hopefully both Gina and the students can move beyond the superficial differences and find the similarities in their humanity and find common ground there. It should be on the teacher (Gina in this case) to lead this charge and create a positive learning environment for students and a positive work environment for herself.
  Posted on: September 17, 2014 4:17 pm

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Solution 38
Posted September 8, 2014 3:10 pm

BazaNu
BazaNu
Reps: 89
I think it's important for people to know the history of their culture. Gina should be understanding of this and possibly share some information about her own culture. If Gina is concerned others will dislike her because of her race, she should not tell her students. Many people today do not consider race and she should not approach it as racial or risk alienating her students. If she is truly concerned, she should talk to another teacher.
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Myzusy
Myzusy
Reps: 113
I agree with your suggestion that she should speak to other teachers about the way she feels. Race is a topic of discussion that often leaves people feeling uncomfortable. Speaking with fellow teachers will help Gina learn how to communicate her views and feelings. By developing her communication skills Gina will be more comfortable in confronting uncomfortable situations that may otherwise be damaging to her long term career goals.
  Posted on: September 19, 2014 2:02 am

uzyXuV
uzyXuV
Reps: 208
I agree about talking to co workers who have been at the school longer than Gina. They may have a unique insight about the poem and addressing cultures.
  Posted on: October 15, 2015 5:10 pm

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Solution 39
Posted September 12, 2014 1:50 am

egyveW
egyveW
Reps: 103
I think that if she does not start thinking her legitimacy is going to be affected then it won't. If she starts to think that way, it will show in her teaching, and students might not begin to see her as an effective teacher, but I do think that she can use this opportunity to open herself up to experiences and situations that may be unfamiliar to her as well as expose her students to a teacher who is different from them and give her students the opportunity to learn from her.
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Solution 40
Posted September 15, 2014 11:06 pm

April Rozier
April Rozier
Reps: 110
You should suggest that she discuss the poem with her students which will add educational value to the poem. By not avoiding the poem, she is proving that she is open-minded and willing to listen to how it made each of them feel. She could share her thoughts on the poem and encourage the students to join the discussion by stating their feelings. I understand that she worries that such a poem could cause racial tension due to her being a white female in a predominately black school but most likely the students will respect her more for acknowledging that the poem was historically true.
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aQazuV
aQazuV
Reps: 105
I agree that it would be helpful if Gina were to address the poem in the classroom. The students would appreciate the fact that Gina is understanding and open-minded to all cultural perspectives. I think as long as Gina finds a way to relate to her students in her lessons, they will respect her and she will not have to worry about her legitimacy in the classroom.
  Posted on: September 17, 2014 12:29 am

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Solution 41
Posted October 9, 2014 8:27 pm

PyveDu
PyveDu
Reps: 101

I think Gina should get input from other "expertise" teachers in an around the school. She is there to learn strategies from them and how that type of school is ran. As a teacher we need to be aware and concerned with our children's feelings and their views on life. As they grow older they become enlightened by different beliefs and perspectives. This is exciting to learn about. She should not worry about her skin color, because children see her being a good teacher who cares about what they are learning.
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Solution 42
Posted September 14, 2015 4:32 pm

Japuje
Japuje
Reps: 107
No matter how hard we try we cannot change the past. Many people have been oppressed and are still being oppressed, but you have to take the higher road and separate yourself from the oppressors regardless of the color of their skin or yours. I have found that if you treat others the way you would like to be treated you will often receive the same treatment in return.
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Laura Doolittle
Laura Doolittle
Reps: 109


I do agree with you. In some cases race will always be a factor. You have to take the high road and remember the reason you became an educator.
  Posted on: September 16, 2015 8:31 pm

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Solution 43
Posted December 4, 2012 9:34 am

Adam Vandenhouten
Adam Vandenhouten
Reps: 97
I think if your sister creates interesting lessons that address many cultures, the students will accept her as a legitimate teacher and gain respect for her. Teachers have to earn respect the same way students have to earn respect. These students could possibly have a negative view just because she is white, but if she stands her ground with them and teaches them meaningful lessons she will earn their respect. It could be challenging at first, but I think losing hope and confidence in your own abilities can only make the problem worse.
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Nicki Kinner
Nicki Kinner
Reps: 68
I could not agree more! Respect is important in ALL classrooms. When the teacher shows the she/he is fair to all students the students will respect her as the teacher. It is essential to incorporate all cultures into lessons, but by making it relevant to the student's backgrounds it can make student engagement much easier!
  Posted on: May 28, 2013 9:12 pm

vezaMu
vezaMu
Reps: 85
Great points. I have had moments where students have not trusted me fully because of my race. But I have shown that I respect them and care about their education. As a result I have earned their respect as well. I think it is important to understand that people of my race have systematically oppressed those of other races. For some, it is hard to see people as individuals and not as a threat as a result of these negative experiences they have experienced. As teachers, we have to be patient, kind, and respectful until trust is gained. We do not automatically have respect simply because we are teachers in this culture.
  Posted on: May 31, 2013 11:46 am

Johnnie Skelton
Johnnie Skelton
Reps: 104
I agree that whatever opinion the students may have of this teacher based on her appearance will be quickly replaced by the impression she makes as a culturally sensitive teacher. If she is willing to address difficult issues and develop relationships with her students, she will earn the students’ respect. Children are alarmingly good judges of character and will see her genuineness.
  Posted on: June 1, 2013 5:29 pm

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Solution 44
Posted December 8, 2012 10:37 pm

Erin Warren
Erin Warren
Reps: 142
I think after talking with her teaching advisor, I would suggest she make a lesson out of it. Discuss with the students how it moved her and have them write about how it made them feel. The students might could even write their own poem. Every opportunity is a teaching moment, and I feel that the students would appreciate her honesty about how it moved her and respond to her openess about the topic.
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Brittany Smith
Brittany Smith
Reps: 69
I love the idea of making the poetry reading into a teaching moment. I think this would be a very good opportunity for students to learn more about themselves and their heritage. It would also be helpful to teach students about the views and cultures of the society that they see as oppressive in order to give them a greater perspective rather than limiting them to viewing white society as a purely dominant force.
  Posted on: May 28, 2013 9:54 pm

Heidi Landon
Heidi Landon
Reps: 58
I like that you pointed out talking to a teacher adviser. Talking to someone who has been around and know the kids better is a great starting point just to make sure you don't step on any toes or go about the lesson in the wrong way. I like that you mentioned making it a teachable moment. By opening up and telling students how moved she was and build on that to teach them more about their culture and build writing skills is an excellent idea.
  Posted on: June 2, 2013 9:21 pm

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Solution 45
Posted February 11, 2013 11:36 am

Rachel P
Rachel P
Reps: 22
I think it does have educational value. I think maybe your sister should use it as an opportunity to get closer to her students and understand what they might be feeling. She can express to students that she might nor feel the same but she wants to understand their feelings. The students might need that time to express themselves. The fact that she is a white teacher in a school full of black people should not hold her back or restrict her teaching.
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Emilee Roberts
Emilee Roberts
Reps: 69
I agree 100%. I think that students are very understanding and they are very capible of showing respect to different races and cultures. I would hope that the sister would use their differences to her advantange and teach them compassion.
  Posted on: May 29, 2013 1:32 pm

yVyLyG
yVyLyG
Reps: 69
This does present an excellent opportunity for your sister to address the student's feelings and impressions of what they heard in the assembly. This may either confirm her fears or resolve them, but wither way it will give her a teachable moment to address racial tensions and the continued efforts to eliminate them from American schools.
  Posted on: June 2, 2013 11:26 pm

Myzusy
Myzusy
Reps: 113
I agree as well. This is a great oppertunity for your sister to encourage open discussion with students. They can learn about her views and culture. They may discover some similarities and common ground.
  Posted on: October 15, 2014 8:25 pm

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Solution 46
Posted March 11, 2013 5:01 pm

Ashley Crosby
Ashley Crosby
Reps: 23
I don't think your sister should worry about her legitimacy as a White teacher. I think that all poems are educational because they are pieces of art. I would advise her to bring in more races to a cultural poetic experience - maybe even compare/contrast pieces from different races.
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SyQyDu
SyQyDu
Reps: 21
I agree, she shouldn't be worrying to much about this. It is art, and there is value in art in education. Allowing herself to be too worried may impact her ability to teach, and she should continue to focus on making her classroom comfortable, efficient and effective for all the students.
  Posted on: September 12, 2013 3:48 pm

Hope Crosby
Hope Crosby
Reps: 122
I agree that Gina shouldn't worry about her legitimacy as teacher. I also like your idea of using other poems to present different points of view. This would make a great mini-unit.
  Posted on: September 22, 2013 10:48 am

BazuTy
BazuTy
Reps: 116
I agree also, she should not think about the negative of the poem, but think to build on the interests of the students. In the African American culture poetry is a well-known form of art.
  Posted on: September 22, 2013 11:38 pm

Myzusy
Myzusy
Reps: 113
I agree, she should not worry. Finding additional poetry by culturally diverse poets is a great idea. Perhaps she should also look for modern day poetry and poetry from the past to add variety. It would also encourage students to compare and contrast writing styles and how the world has changed in its views over time.
  Posted on: October 15, 2014 8:31 pm

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Solution 47
Posted March 14, 2013 3:47 pm

Debbie Lee Gaskin
Debbie Lee Gaskin
Reps: 48
I can understand her anxiety. Give it time & the benefit of the doubt, though instead of projecting bad tidings. After all, that poem shows how far race relations have come and that justice has been restored as well as the history of the injustices and poor relations. In addition, time will give her students and her a chance to get to know each other. Even if they currently have a bias against her, their getting to know her individually will hopefully build a rapport between her and the students. Those students that have intractible prejudices can be dealt with privately and kindly on the level that they are being racist, etc, etc. I've had to do this with a couple of my students and its actually worked out well. We are are not buddy buddy, but are on good terms now. Remember, the poem does have validity as history, but nobody has the right to make it an issue with your sister.
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Nicki Kinner
Nicki Kinner
Reps: 68
I completely agree. Earning your students respect is very important. By earning their respect the teacher will earn their trust. The poem is important for the students because it does teach them about the past and even the present. If she explains to the students that everyone in the classroom will be treated with respect and fairness from day one, she should not have a problem.
  Posted on: May 28, 2013 9:08 pm

yJaGus
yJaGus
Reps: 106
I completely agree with your statement and in fact posted something very similar to this. Without respect from or towards the students, you cannot have a successful classroom. Start there and then see what happens.
  Posted on: September 22, 2013 3:18 pm

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Solution 48
Posted May 27, 2013 10:21 am

Jessica Heilman
Jessica Heilman
Reps: 58
I don;t think it should matter. If she was moved by the poem, she was moved by the poem. It doesn't affect her "legitimacy" as a White teacher. All kinds of different race teachers could be affected by all different kinds of literature by different races. As far as the educational effects, she might not have seen the educational effects of this poem, but to the students who were listening, it could have meant something or taught something to them. Many of them do not know their own history and this could have opened their eyes to see how life really was back in those times.
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SaSyXu
SaSyXu
Reps: 105
I don't think it should matter either...in fact, I would talk with my students about how it affected her as well as how it affected them.
  Posted on: September 14, 2014 1:26 am

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Solution 49
Posted May 28, 2013 7:19 pm

yheraZ
yheraZ
Reps: 68
I do think that being exposed to pieces of literature from different time periods and about different events in our history has significant educational value. I don’t think this poem affects her legitimacy as a teacher but I do think that this poem could and should be used as a gateway into another lesson that allows her and her students to openly express concerns, issues and feelings and allows them to connect on a deeper level. A lesson idea that came to my mind in this instance may be to have students find, or create their own poem or piece of literature that deals with the same topic as the poem that was shared at the meeting. Hopefully she will be able to use experience as a platform to address the sometimes difficult topic of racism and past discrimination that has happened between blacks and whites. I do think this is a great opportunity for her to assess how her students perceive her and hopefully if they perceive her in a negative light this can be the opportunity for her to change their perception and opinion of her. She needs to show her students that she understands the problems and challenges they face and that they are sometimes different from what she as a white woman faces but through her showing respect for her students in this fashion hopefully she can generate a mutual respect from them.
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gyjyjy
gyjyjy
Reps: 71
I also feel that poetry can have educational value, especially in the manner that it is presented and the speaker. I also felt that this was an opportunity for Gina to see what concerns her students may have about her or any perceptions that have about white's from the poem. I thought that a great way for her to see and know what her students were thinking is through their writing. So I would have students complete a journal entry and I would provide students with a list of questions that I would like for them to address in their writing. I would have students tell me what the poem was about, what it meant to the people during that time period, what does it mean to them (the student) today, and how did the poem make you feel. Afterwards Gina may ask if students would like to read their entry aloud or she can have one on one conferences with the students, or read them silently after class. I think that Gina should remain strong in the classroom and present herself as usual in a respectful manner to all students no matter what their race may be.
  Posted on: May 30, 2013 8:12 pm

vezaMu
vezaMu
Reps: 85
I completely agree! I like your idea for an additional lesson plan. This would help students extend their knowledge and have an opportunity to express their opinions and themselves. It will also help her establish a classroom space where all students feel safe and like their culture is respected.
  Posted on: May 31, 2013 11:42 am

VyQaqu
VyQaqu
Reps: 71
I agree. If she decided to take that poem's content and merge it into her lessons, it would be amazing. Not only would she be able to discuss the poem and its history with her class, the students would respect her for taking on that topic in her class and get to discuss a topic that is interesting to most of the learners.
  Posted on: May 31, 2013 5:20 pm

eDaNep
eDaNep
Reps: 66
What a great idea. I believe expressing how the poem moved her and allowing the students to create their own poems would be a great way for poetry to become meaningful.
  Posted on: June 1, 2013 11:35 pm

qyzeha
qyzeha
Reps: 105
Your idea for an additional assignment is a wonderful idea! I think that this would help all students feel comfortable in the classroom and help reassure them that there culture is respected.
  Posted on: June 4, 2013 7:21 pm

Laura Toft
Laura Toft
Reps: 71
I love your idea of using poetry as a follow-up assignment. Students have to learn how to express themselves in many different ways. Whether it's through art, writing, or another facet of creativity, each child needs that outlet. What a great idea!
  Posted on: May 27, 2014 8:01 pm

Jennifer Loncon
Jennifer Loncon
Reps: 68
I think using this poem as a gateway to open up classroom discussion and further readings is a great idea!
  Posted on: June 1, 2014 11:33 pm

Kim Lucas
Kim Lucas
Reps: 107
Using poetry, short stories, or any other creative expression is a wonderful way to get some students to start talking and open up discussion is brilliant! Good idea!
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 11:00 pm

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Solution 50
Posted May 29, 2013 1:30 pm

Emilee Roberts
Emilee Roberts
Reps: 69
I do not think that the color of your skin should hinder you as a teacher. Teaching is an art! Teaching black, white, tan, yellow, or orange students is still teaching. Your sister can use her feelings toward to poem to better translate her feelings with her students. She could talk about "the truths" behind each race to better explain their similarities and thier differences. She could ask for input and she could even hold a classroom debate. I think that students are more understanding and they could learn/repect any race within the classroom.
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TuVuze
TuVuze
Reps: 99
If teaching is an art and a poem is art, it seems as if they would complement each other well in the educational setting. Poems such as these do offer educational value and if the teacher is questioning her legitimacy as a teacher by reading this art form, it should be noted that the poem has educational value. She should use the poem as a catalyst to become an even better teacher and not let her doubts stop her from influencing students in a positive manner.
  Posted on: September 22, 2013 10:47 pm

LaChristen Boyd
LaChristen Boyd
Reps: 68
Definitely! Skin color has no effect or depiction of how a teacher is or performs. A teacher of color could have read the same poem and sparked the same reaction. The poem was just that intense. The teacher probably should feel uneasy, becaue I would too if her shoes were on my feel and I was reading a racially charged poem about caucasian individuals.
  Posted on: May 30, 2014 6:36 pm

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Solution 51
Posted May 30, 2013 8:05 pm

gyjyjy
gyjyjy
Reps: 71
I do believe that poetry can have educational value, especially in the way that it is presented. Depending on how the poetry was read and the feelings the reader placed into reading as the words were spoke can move the listeners and have significant educational value. I believe that your sister could have the students complete a journal entry on the poem presented at the assembly. In their journal writings you can provide questions for the students to answer as they analyze the poem. I would have students tell me what the poem was about, what it meant to the people during that time period, what does it mean to them (the student) today, and how did the poem make you feel. The journals can be presented orally by students or read silently by your sister. I would then tell her to stay true to herself and who she is as an educator. She should continue her role as an educator and show her students that she is there to serve everyone regardless of their race or ethnicity. So I do not think that Gina should worry about her legitimacy, because the poem does not change who she is as a teacher or her purpose to educate all children equally to the best of her ability.
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Hope Crosby
Hope Crosby
Reps: 122
I really like that you would follow up this poetry reading with a journal entry. This would be a great place for students to express their feelings without causing a huge class debate. I also agree that regardless of the outcome, Gina must (as you said) "stay true to herself and who she is as an educator".
  Posted on: September 22, 2013 10:46 am

yZaveh
yZaveh
Reps: 109
You're right that the WAY it was read can have an effect on how the listener interprets it. I didn't even think about that!
  Posted on: September 22, 2013 12:35 pm

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Solution 52
Posted May 30, 2013 9:45 pm

L. Carrell
L. Carrell
Reps: 63
A poem being read at an all-school assembly should not make a teacher doubt her legitimacy as a teacher at the school she works. If a teacher is not teaching her students or cannot control her classroom, then she should be concerned about the legitimacy as a teacher. If this poem was not written by a student at the school and that was why it was being read, then Gina may want to express her concerns to the administrators at the school.
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A Battles
A Battles
Reps: 115
You are exactly right. Her legitimacy as a teacher has nothing to do with the poem but by her actions in the classroom.
  Posted on: September 20, 2013 10:12 pm

Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith
Reps: 107
I agree with you that the poem should not make Gina question her ability to teach children. The poem was an educational experience to give students knowledge about how one person felt in regards to past events. The student teachers should be concerned with developing appropriate lessons to educate the students that will be in her classroom. She should focus on developing connections with these children and making decisions based on the success of her students after the learning experiences.
  Posted on: September 14, 2014 8:47 pm

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Solution 53
Posted May 31, 2013 5:13 pm

VyQaqu
VyQaqu
Reps: 71
The poem does have educational effects. Students need to understand that this country has seen days of oppression of one race at the hands of another. It is not an opinion or thought; it is a fact. I do not believe however, that the poem would affect her legitimacy as a White teacher in a Black school. Like any of the teachers at the school, if she is there for the students, everything will typically be okay. Though the history might look gloomy when it is brought up, she cannot let that stop her from her purpose. She should let her students know (subtly) that she cares for the success of all of her students no matter who they are, where they come from, or what they look like.

If she would like to discuss or use the poem in her classroom, she could probably look at different races or minority from around the world that have (or is) been oppressed. She could have her students to look at the root of the oppression, the struggle of the oppressed, and the successes of those oppressed after they were able to be freed of that oppression. Looking at the full spectrum of a race or minorities progression would allow the students to see that this teacher is much more about the future and its possibilities rather than the ugliness of the past. I believe that linking those stories to that of the poem would allow the teacher and her students to have wonderful conversation and openness about the issue.
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Jessica Briley
Jessica Briley
Reps: 109
I really enjoyed reading your solution. I agree that the teacher should express that she wants her students to succeed, this will gain some respect from her class. Also, I think the teacher should focus on progression rather than regression of the history. It is important to look at how and why people were oppressed, but I think how things have changed should be emphasized. Hopefully this will allow the students to see how America has changed and how their ancestry has grown through many different struggles.
  Posted on: September 22, 2013 12:24 pm

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Solution 54
Posted June 1, 2013 11:32 pm

eDaNep
eDaNep
Reps: 66
I can relate to your sister. In 12 years of teaching, I've only ever taught in mostly African American schools. In my classroom, I've only taught about a dozen white children in my entire career. I think that as a white teacher, I can bring something to the table to help bridge the gap between whites and blacks. She has to make sure though that she make an effort to understand the children she is teaching as well as understand her own differences as well. It is through understanding differences that she can truly connect with her students by gaining trust and understanding. She should also encourage open dialog including speaking about her feelings about the poem.
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Susan Esra
Susan Esra
Reps: 68
I like your comment about starting an open dialogue, including sharing her own feelings. Depending on the age of her students, this could be a situation that really helps them to bond. She should be sure that she has gained their trust first.
  Posted on: May 29, 2014 2:08 pm

yXeBeX
yXeBeX
Reps: 114
I too believe that an open, honest conversation with the students about the issue will be extremely beneficial, especially of the students are older. In this conversation it should be said that it is not a culture that is all good or all bad, it is the individual people in that culture that represent them.
  Posted on: September 19, 2014 6:52 pm

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Solution 55
Posted June 2, 2013 4:33 pm

Monique Cook
Monique Cook
Reps: 70
I believe the poem does have educational value, both in the classroom and outside the classroom. If history is not taught, it is bound to repeat itself. This poem should have the same affect on her as if it was a poem about a Confederate soldier or slave owner. All topics from that time period will arouse emotion, but that can not be controlled. She should ask her students to respond to them poem if she really wants to know what they are thinking.
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qyzeha
qyzeha
Reps: 105
I agree that there is no way to teach history from that time period without bringing out different emotions from your students. As difficult as it can be, it is so important to teach the history from all perspectives so that history will not repeat itself.
  Posted on: June 4, 2013 7:23 pm

Stormye Brantley
Stormye Brantley
Reps: 121
I agree with your response. Whether the message was agreed with or not, the poem provides educational value that should be used within the classroom. By listening to the students and their oppression, she may also learn strategies to better teach them and also learn how to maintain a positive relationship with the students.
  Posted on: September 15, 2013 9:35 pm

Meredith Bryant
Meredith Bryant
Reps: 106
Responding to the poem would be a great way to really delve into her students' minds and discover their honest thoughts. From here, she can use this as a teaching moment about all races, but definitely her own. For instance, she could use this opportunity to show certain key Caucasian figures that have rallied together with their fellow black friends to fight for the common goal.
  Posted on: September 19, 2013 5:47 pm

SyQyDu
SyQyDu
Reps: 21
This is one of the best responses to this situation that I've read. Its very true that history will tend to bring out emotion in people. Slavery prior to the Civil War, The Holocaust, 9/11, Colonialism, and the Crusades just to name a few. These subjects in history bring out emotion from different groups of people for very valid reasons. To understand history completely, and its implications to our lives, we must sometimes subject ourselves to things like this poem to really understand the feelings or perspectives of a time period. She should feel very valid in knowing that she is doing a good job by making these students aware of this, and its place in history.
  Posted on: September 21, 2013 10:27 pm

jaMyDu
jaMyDu
Reps: 119
Unfortunately this was one of the darkest hours in America's history. There is no way around it. If you teach it, you are going to arouse emotions. It is important though for the students to have the ability to discuss their feelings about this particular time period. They should be allowed to express how they feel regardless of the topic and feel that their opinion is worthwhile and meaningful. I mean I get emotional when I begin to think about the horrible way people treated one another during this time period. I believe that it is still a part of history and that it must be something that is taught. Therefore, I believe that a certain sensitivity must come along with having discussions about slavery and oppression.
  Posted on: September 22, 2013 10:49 pm

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Solution 56
Posted June 2, 2013 11:08 pm

Kimberly Spicer
Kimberly Spicer
Reps: 71
I would tell her to use that poem as motivation. Motivation that can show her that students really do understand or "feel" what's going on around them. Children are very perceptive and realize more of what's going on than we think they do, especially inner city kids. If she acts like she doesn't belong, the students will pick up on this. She should embrace what she is and teach her heart out. I think the poem is a good example of what moves the students, though. She can learn from that poem and expand her teaching from it. She can use it as reference in her teaching or have students create poems like this when they learn about certain things.
Also, she shouldn't act like she is an outcast because she is the minority of the school. Aren't we trying to teach our kids that everyone is the same and we are all equal? She shouldn't feel inadequate because then she would be a hypocrite teaching in an inner city school.
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Jordan Nelms
Jordan Nelms
Reps: 104
I love your idea of using the poem as a source of motivation! Poetry can send out so many messages, and can be used to change our way of thinking. Great idea :)
  Posted on: October 20, 2014 4:13 am

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Solution 57
Posted June 2, 2013 11:24 pm

yVyLyG
yVyLyG
Reps: 69
I believe your sister does have a right to feel awkward given her position as a minority in the school. I think anything literature related should be considered as it is historically correct, but I also think it is the school's responsibility to reflect on how the poem correlated to the time and how society and therefore those values have progressed. This ensured that impressionable minds understand that the oppression faced by those 100 years ago is not the same as it is in 2013, and therefore they should listen with compassion but not necessarily assimilate to those same feelings.
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udydyV
udydyV
Reps: 108
I agree in that the racism experienced by many Black folk 100 years ago is different than the racism of today. The racism that exist today is more structural and a lot less overt. I believe the teacher can use the progress in race relations that America has made to spur discussions in her class.

Is race relations in America perfect? No, but they are a lot better than they were 60 years ago.
  Posted on: September 18, 2013 2:21 pm

Meredith Bryant
Meredith Bryant
Reps: 106
I think you bring up a really excellent point--oppression that existed in our nation's history is not the same oppression that these students of their descendants face today. It really all boils down to breaking that racial barrier that still exists in our world today, no matter how much we want to believe that it doesn't. The truth is, it does and we owe it to our students to show them what the real world is like in terms of racial capability and over-comings.
  Posted on: September 19, 2013 5:49 pm

Hope Crosby
Hope Crosby
Reps: 122
I agree that the sister has a right to feel awkward, I probably would too. However, you make a great point that oppression that was present years ago is different from what is present today. I like that you mention they can listen with passion, but it doesn't mean that they have to have the same feelings. Great response!
  Posted on: September 22, 2013 10:40 am

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Solution 58
Posted September 15, 2013 10:13 pm

BeWuXe
BeWuXe
Reps: 117
Your sister should use this situation as a teachable moment. This scenario reminds me of the 1995 movie Dangerous Minds with Michelle Pfeifer. In the movie, Pfeifer plays a teacher who comes into an inner city school to teach literature. She ultimately challenges them by creating the Dylan-Dylan project. The students were challenged to find a link between Bob Dylan's music and the poetry of Dylan Thomas. Your sister should continue to discussion of poetry in her classroom. One idea would be to assign varying historical times or events to students and challenge them to find a poem (or song) which best describes that time period or their own thoughts about the event. Once she establishes a relationship with the students, her worries of her legitimacy as a white teacher should fall to the wayside.
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Jordyn Nail
Jordyn Nail
Reps: 108
What a cool idea, and I think you are right. Gina should take this as an opportunity to show that she understands and embraces other cultures and is confident enough in herself to allow all children to express their ideas of their cultures and any oppression that that culture faced. It's important to remember that even though whites were responsible for slavery and the oppression of Native and Hawaiian Americans in the 1800's, no teacher or student alive today was directly involved in any of those situations. So, she should not feel insecure or bad about what her ancestors did but she should do her best to understand those cultures so that she can be an effective teacher.
  Posted on: September 21, 2013 6:01 pm

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Solution 59
Posted September 16, 2013 9:12 am

udydyV
udydyV
Reps: 108
In education, we often talk about multiple intelligence and alternative forms of assessments. I think the poem illustrates a type of alternative form of assessment in that it relayed historical truths in a manner the student(s) was able to create. The same student(s) may have done poorly on a standardized history test. So yes, the poem does have educational value.

As for Gina, I would advise her to befriend the student who wrote the poem. I would ask the student to help me write a poem describing the fears of being a White teacher in a majority Black school. I would include in the poem that I wish the students would view me, not through the eyes of America's racist past, but through the hopeful lens of America's future for ALL people. I would read the poem at the next assembly.

Students of any ethnicity do not want to be patronized. If Gina truly wants to be a change agent for the students in the school, they will recognize it.
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BazuTy
BazuTy
Reps: 116
Different solution, but Gina being new to the school I would not advice her to just approach the student. If I was her, I would use poetry as a alternative assessment with the students she will be working with. She should not stress the emotion behind the poem because it is not personal direct towards her.
  Posted on: September 22, 2013 11:53 pm

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Solution 60
Posted September 19, 2013 5:45 pm

Meredith Bryant
Meredith Bryant
Reps: 106
Having been placed in a similar situation myself throughout my student teaching experience, I came to embrace the historical truth to such oppression, also presented in the form of a poem at an assembly honoring Black History Month. I hid behind my own skin color, too afraid to speak up or really admit how I felt about the situation. I felt bad for sure, but I also couldn't help it. It wasn't I who had done anything wrong, nor really them who have been oppressed, but rather distant ancestors and relatives. I do believe that poems have educational value. Some individuals really adhere to these to find truth in a message and they can really take on a very invoking impression. My advice for her would be to have the racial discussion with her students about race. In other words, have students learn about her background and she learn more about theirs. It is truly a disservice to those students who may go through life having hatred in their heart for what another European descendent has done.
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BazuTy
BazuTy
Reps: 116
I agree that poetry writing holds educational value especially in the African American community. For instance there are poetry night at local clubs and centers in African American communities. I know you may feel some type of way about the experience of being in an unfamiliar area, but I am glad you done research. I believe addressing the race issues so early will only open up a jar of worms. Being novice to the school and teaching, I would advice you to address your problems and concerns with experienced staff.
  Posted on: September 19, 2013 10:10 pm

April Rozier
April Rozier
Reps: 110
I absolutely love your post! I agree that White Americans cannot control what was done by their ancestors and most of us are actually ashamed of it. The African Americans also have not experienced the oppression of their ancestors. So why should anger exist among us now? I believe being honest with your students about this can open doors and build bonds.
  Posted on: September 15, 2014 11:19 pm

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Solution 61
Posted September 19, 2013 9:50 pm

BazuTy
BazuTy
Reps: 116
This is a case that allows the importance of understanding and knowing others culture. Poetry and music are key forms of literature in the African American culture. Poetry allows the individuals to expression the emotions and feeling through writing. I would explain to her that this is a typical form of writing and expression in African American culture and that this is a great start to build upon the student’s prior knowledge. For example, a great activity for students is to write an appropriate rap or song about particular educational retable topics that relate to the world. She should not emphasize on the topic or the meaning of that particular poem because it was just a merely expression of emotions about the historical truth African Americans faced and suffered during that time frame. I would then explain to her that she need to research the background of African American culture and understand that the students may be resistance during the initial meeting with her, but that has nothing to do with the reading of the poem. This is how majority of the students view authority, because so many teachers have taken for granted the authority role. I would then explain how to decrease the resistance by stating that allowing the students to help develop the expectations and procedures of the class is the foundation for creating positive learning environment.
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Solution 62
Posted September 22, 2013 10:44 am

Hope Crosby
Hope Crosby
Reps: 122
I would most likely feel like Gina in this situation. If a problem arose where students began mentioning the poem and how it affected them and their current situation (with a white as a teacher) then I think it would be important to spend class time examining the poem close up as well as exploring what was the setting of the time/era when this poem was written. Was this written during the civil rights movement? If so, what were people feeling them? How are current events different now than they were then? How have people changed as a result? I think if you address this situation in this manner students will have a better understanding of the feelings behind the poem and how they might be different than what people think/feel today.
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yZaveh
yZaveh
Reps: 109
I like that you mentioned if the students start talking about it. I think that's an important point. Just because it bothers her doesn't mean she needs to address the issue, but she does need to if it's something the students are really struggling with as well.
  Posted on: September 22, 2013 12:37 pm

Qureby
Qureby
Reps: 102
I liked your suggestion of using the poem to begin an in-depth exploration of American history at the time the piece was written. I also like that you included questions that would help students make connections between American culture then and now.
  Posted on: September 22, 2014 1:19 am

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Solution 63
Posted September 22, 2013 12:31 pm

yZaveh
yZaveh
Reps: 109
It's good that your sister understood the historical truth of the poem, as oppression in our country is an important issue, and an individual's reaction to this oppression should be allowed to be expressed through art. Poems like that definitely have an educational value. However, I do not necessarily think that an all-school assembly with the cultures of the oppressor and oppressed present is a very wise time for this type of expression. However, as a student teacher, she does not have as much say as a staff member would, so I don't think she should confront the situation with the administration. I think she should just take this as a learning experience and a reminder that as teachers we face difficulties from many different areas.
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Solution 64
Posted September 22, 2013 3:16 pm

yJaGus
yJaGus
Reps: 106
Poetry is and always will be an education experience. We start off teaching nursery rhymes to 4 year old children and it's an educational experience for them. I think that Gina should focus on the educational parts of the poem when she is teaching to the students. If the students become rowdy and start making her feel uncomfortable then she should consult with the teacher that she is working under. More than likely, the students will just address the parts of the poem that she addresses for educational purposes; however, it is important for her to stay strong and not give in. Students can sense a teacher that is not comfortable working and that in the end will result in chaos.
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BazuTy
BazuTy
Reps: 116
Yes, students can seek out the weakest skill of a teacher and take advantage of the situation. Gina needs to first focus on implementing classroom management, because without management over the class she will not be able to teach. Building a rapport with the students is essential.
  Posted on: September 22, 2013 11:41 pm

Amy Fletcher
Amy Fletcher
Reps: 67
I agree with your comment. It is important for the student teacher to stay strong and confident about teaching the poem because then the students will sense she is uncomfortable and start giving her trouble.
  Posted on: May 29, 2014 4:19 pm

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Solution 65
Posted September 22, 2013 10:33 pm

TuVuze
TuVuze
Reps: 99
Since your sister Gina, the teacher, accepted the historical truth of the poem, it seems obvious that the reading of the poem has the capacity to provide an educational message. Gina also mentioned that the poem moved her and after hearing its recitation, she doubted her legitimacy as a White teacher in a predominantly Black school. Because she had those range of emotions and questioned her own abilities as a teacher, the poem does have relevance. Good teachers are reflective and are always in the pursuit of learning new things. Gina seems as if she is on the right track because she reflected on the poem and its significance, and her validity as a teacher. She even took it a step further by consulting with an experienced teacher, her brother, in an effort to gain more insight into the situation. Because Gina has done these things, I would ask her to think about the characteristics that make up a good teacher. I would then illustrate to Gina that she has those characteristics due to the fact that she reflected upon and questioned the validity of the poem and how it relates to her as a teacher. This could also be a good opportunity to discuss with Gina the educational effect the poem had on her perspective as a teacher. This could help her to answer the question as to whether or not these types of poems have educational value and it would also allow her to explore her legitimacy as a teacher.
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Josh Oglesby
Josh Oglesby
Reps: 69
I appreciate your comment on her accepting the historical truth. I had not thought about this aspect in assessing whether or not the poem could have educational value but if the adult can "feel the message" then so can the students. For some reason, the various forms of writing are often looked at with skepticism as to whether or not they are posses any educational value. I have read and been moved by many poems and works of writing throughout the years and feel they hold aplace in classrooms as much as any math text.
  Posted on: May 27, 2014 7:04 pm

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Solution 66
Posted September 22, 2013 10:42 pm

jaMyDu
jaMyDu
Reps: 119
I do not think that Gina has anything to worry about. I believe that your sister should talk with her students about the poem and how they interpreted it. I would suggest to Gina that she listens to every student's individual point of view and then have her share with them her interpretation. I think that she may want to talk about how far we have come as a society and as a country. I would then discuss with them that poetry is art and a way to express yourself. I would say that like art it is up to the individual to take away meaning. It is important to stress that each person's point of view is unique and that no one is wrong in the way that they interpret it. I would then discuss the educational merits of the poem. Was there any examples of rhyme, alliteration, onomatopoeia, simile, metaphor, or personification? Then she could have the students write their own poem about a time in their life when they felt that they were oppressed or misunderstood. It is important to not forget our past. There is a saying, "Don't forget your past or it may very well become your future." So this poem should not be something that should scare or worry Gina. A poem about oppression should be taken for what it is worth. Oppression was a horrible thing that occurred in one of America's darkest hours. Gina should share the same sentiments about oppression as the students do and begin to create relationships with her them through this activity.
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Alicia Garcia
Alicia Garcia
Reps: 69
I agree with this solution. If we can't talk about history, race and social justice and the power of the written word in school, where can we talk about it. In most of the classes I taught last year I, a European American, was the minority in the room. It never felt like a problem for me. I do think it would be valuable however to see more men and minorities enter into the teaching profession. Based on my experience most teachers are white women which is not reflective of the students we teach. It would be nice for students to see their own race and gender reflected by their teachers but this isn't happening yet. Still, I don't think it matters if your a white teacher in a black school. If you truly respect and value your students most will give that respect back to you.
  Posted on: June 8, 2014 7:41 pm

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Solution 67
Posted September 22, 2013 11:09 pm

upyNuX
upyNuX
Reps: 100
The fact that she's white should NOT affect her legitimacy as a teacher, but unfortunately it will likely affect the level of respect she receives from some students. This poem could be a sign that there are students who resent white teachers and that she might have to work even harder to be very effective in the classroom. But that doesn't mean it is the way it should be. It also doesn't mean that she absolutely will run into problems with students.

But concerning the poem specifically, I think it would be a great idea to talk to the students in her class to find out their feelings and even to ask them specifically about how they feel about this topic and what, if anything, can be done to change their mind? It may be that only time will tell the difference. I think one of the best ways for her to "reach" these students might be for her to just show students throughout the year that she (a white girl) doesn't behave in the ways depicted in the poem read at the assembly.
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zaSyNu
zaSyNu
Reps: 58
I had said basically the same thing about that fact that she would have to work hard to change their minds. I really like the idea of personally talking to the students about the situation and finding out exactly how they feel and what she could possibly do in order to change their minds or see things differently.
  Posted on: September 14, 2014 6:49 am

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Solution 68
Posted September 22, 2013 11:12 pm

yraGaD
yraGaD
Reps: 28
The subject of race is always a difficult topic in the classroom. There will be emotionally charged discussions and there is just no way around it. It's important to have those discussions and help students understand our countries past and present troubles with race. The poem should evoke emotions because it's an emotional subject. I don't think that it should take away from her ability to be effective in the classroom. Race doesn't make you a good or bad teacher. If she goes into the classroom not ignoring the topic of race instead respecting it and dealing with the conversation head on, she should be fine.
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Jill Elton
Jill Elton
Reps: 108
I agree that discussing the subject of race is difficult. In reality, it wasn't that many years go that segregation ended. I, for one, am not proud of the way our forefathers dealt with particular situations. But what I can do is to learn from their mistakes and try to do better, for all mankind. After all, those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it.
  Posted on: September 14, 2015 1:55 am

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Solution 69
Posted March 4, 2014 10:21 pm

Will Melton
Will Melton
Reps: 58
I believe that Gina should not let the poem and the reaction effect how she views her own legitimacy in the same way that African Americans may have had a temptation to question their own legitimacy at many times and places throughout our US history where civil rights have been a major issue. I do believe that it will be difficult for Gina in this school situation and that students may look to her to see how she may react given that she will be in the minority as a White Teacher among the students and most likely the staff as well. Gina will need to process how she feels about the poem. Gina could perhaps find a way to show her students that the poem did have its intended effect and that if the African American students had the courage to share this poem in other places where they were not in the majority - it would probably have a positive emotional effect on other White Americans. This could help to empower her students and she could find a way to improve communication and help find common ground with her students by letting them know what specifically charged her emotions and what may have been better to leave out from her perspective as a white American of European descent.
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Solution 70
Posted March 6, 2014 1:10 am

Brian Martin
Brian Martin
Reps: 42
Sometimes I remind myself that one of the best parts of teaching math is the lack of controversy. However, society is not colorblind and sometimes the classroom can get awkward or uncomfortable to some of its inhabitants. I understand that Gina is feeling conflicted, but she needs some perspective.
First of all, Gina needs to know that our experiences at school go deeper than a set of standards. One of my most profound personal educational experiences was listening to a motivational speaker at an assembly in high school. She was a local news anchor who was not teaching anything in the standards, however, I remember what she said and was motivated by it. I have no idea what we covered in math or chemistry that week, but the value of that assembly was significant. If the students were exposed to a poem that made them think, motivated them, made them feel good, or made them enter into a good discussion then the poem was a success.
The students’ relationship with a teacher is more than just a snapshot of one event. Teachers earn trust and respect every day. Students notice when a teacher is enthusiastic and has passion for teaching students. Students will know when a teacher has genuine respect for them and want the best educational experience. Gina needs to not focus on one event.
If Gina is worrying about her legitimacy, she needs to think about her body of work. Her dedication to students and creation of an effective learning environment matter the most.
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Solution 71
Posted March 8, 2014 4:32 am

Ron Boyd
Ron Boyd
Reps: 21
I don't think your sister has anything to worry about. The poem sounds like a personal expression of historical events. This does not mean there is any hatred behind the poem. I would view it as a celebration of that students ability to write poetry. This one event should not squelch her enthusiasm for teaching. Her ability to show students she cares about them and teach the curriculum will determine the students reaction to her.
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Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith
Reps: 107
You made a great point about the purpose of the poem being read at the assembly. It is one person’s opinion of an event that happened in the past. Gina is not the person that is being singled out during the learning experience and I think she should be respectful of the cultural views of the majority of people that surround her. The other educators and students will form a relationship with her based on her own actions and ideas, so I think she should have an open mind to the learning experience that she will go through during her internship.
  Posted on: September 14, 2014 8:36 pm

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Solution 72
Posted March 10, 2014 11:24 am

Brad Cowart
Brad Cowart
Reps: 38
Whether this poem has a positive educational effect on the students or not is beyond Gina’s control. What Gina can control is her actions and attitudes towards educating her students. If Gina finds that her students are incited to the point of distraction and not able to learn in her classroom because she is white, she may want to ask her administration to consider and weigh the pros and cons of the material used at the assembly.
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Solution 73
Posted March 10, 2014 9:30 pm

Monique Lester
Monique Lester
Reps: 37
Anytime you engage students in a reading activity, the activity becomes educational and meaningful. Students at all ages should continue to engage in reading and listening to a poem being read is never a worthless event. The main thing for your sister to do is to keep being herself and not try to impress everyone at the school. The poem can allow her to understand more deeply what the African American people went through and will also create opportunities to develop deeper relationships with the students of the school. I think it was very good that your sister was "touched" in this experience. It is important that we experience in some way some feelings of the students we teach. Having these feelings will cause one to care. I always believe that students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.
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Laura Toft
Laura Toft
Reps: 71
Feelings are such a big part of history. As Gina felt a certain way after the program, so should the students of the school. While these feelings will range from person to person- it's important to see the progress made through the activity. I think it's important for Gina to embrace what happened at her school and use the emotion to help drive her instruction for the best.
  Posted on: May 27, 2014 7:59 pm

Hannah Nabors
Hannah Nabors
Reps: 68
I love your final quote about knowledge and caring. I also appreciate your perspective on reading activities as educational in nature regardless of context. The old adage "actions speak louder than words," is definitely at play here. You're right, students need to experience Gina as a teacher rather than be concerned about Gina in regards to her historical ties to the poem.
  Posted on: May 29, 2014 8:31 pm

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Solution 74
Posted March 11, 2014 2:35 am

Stephen Farkas
Stephen Farkas
Reps: 36
It is good that the students are exposed to some artistic representation of historical events. I can understand her concern that she might be seen as an unjust oppressor worthy of contempt. It would be good if she could introduce some theme important to the African American community into one of her lessons. She could demonstrate her understanding and respect to them that way. She could talk about the contributions of an African American to a particular field the students are studying. They they will hopefully not stereotype her because of her appearance. I think it will mean something to them if she discusses the issue on their level, but in a way that relates to the subject she is teaching.
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Solution 75
Posted March 12, 2014 12:03 am

Erin Warren
Erin Warren
Reps: 142
I would definitely have the students make a text to self connection and explain how they were moved by the poem. They may even say they weren't moved by the poem. Another thing I might would do is have the students draw positions out of a hat (they were moved by the poem or they were not moved by the poem) and have them complete a debate on why or why not someone would be moved. It might get thoughts flowing and have students see different perspectives.
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Solution 76
Posted March 14, 2014 9:23 pm

Taquavia Jones
Taquavia Jones
Reps: 35
I think that the poem does have educational value. It discusses history, showcases creativity, and is an assessment of a type of prose in ELA. As for your sister, I understand her concern. I attended a predominantly Black elementary, middle, and high school. I now teach at a predominantly Black school. I have witnessed the fear and carefulness of White teachers. Some are scared and some are just unsure of how to approach the students. I have seen many that feel the need to be the extremely "nice" teacher, and allow the students to walk all over them. My advice to your sister would be to just be yourself. I do not think that poem alone will have any educational effects. Students come with preconceived thoughts on various issues, so in my opinion, the poem will not change what they probably already thought and felt. However, I do think if she shows her love for the students and job, she will be fine. Inner-city students are really good at picking out the teachers that actually want to be there. The fact that she was moved shows that she empathizes with them, and could be a great basis for sparking up a discussion with the students. One piece of advice I give all my White co-workers who are unsure about how the students will perceive them is to not be timid. Be yourself, and do what you love.
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Solution 77
Posted March 16, 2014 1:32 pm

Audrey Hobbs
Audrey Hobbs
Reps: 29
Like your sister, I too am a Caucasian teacher in a predominantly (80%) African American school. I find that readings and assemblies such as the one you described do not cause Caucasian teachers to lose their legitimacy. Unfortunately, a vast majority of teachers in my school are Caucasian. Because we are supportive of our students and the contributions of their race, however, the students, for the most part, do not view our race in a negative light. I think it is important in schools to teach the students to recognize the contributions of each race and appreciate the struggles/successes that we each have gone through to get to where we are today. With this, students appreciate the teacher, no matter the race.
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aBugeS
aBugeS
Reps: 77
I completely agree that the students will see her for the teacher that she is. I think she should use cultural relevant text and show respect towards her students. She will gain student trust through her actions which will speak louder than any words.

  Posted on: June 1, 2014 4:14 pm

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Solution 78
Posted April 3, 2014 2:06 am

Jonathan Olivarez
Jonathan Olivarez
Reps: 36
I would first say that your sister is completely legitimate as a White teacher. Secondly, I would advise your sister to structure her class in a way that allows her students to take control of their learning. She would just be the facilitator. This allows her to continue to be an effective teacher but gives give students the clarity that they are responsible for their learning and she is there to help.
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Nick Thrower
Nick Thrower
Reps: 67
I like that you mentioned the fact that the teacher is being legitimate. By using this poem, and being white, she is modeling what the poem is all about. She is using a culturally diverse text to fit her students' needs.
  Posted on: June 13, 2014 3:27 pm

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Solution 79
Posted May 26, 2014 9:10 pm

LeeAnna Elder
LeeAnna Elder
Reps: 75
I too felt weird, and culturally out of place when I started teaching in basically an all black community. It is important to quickly build a good and honest rapore with the black students. She does not need to change her personality or actions to fit in with the culture, but she needs to be culturally sensitive with knowledge about the culture.
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Cardia Foster
Cardia Foster
Reps: 73
I agree with you. No matter what the race of the students are, it's all about building a positive community in the classroom.
  Posted on: May 31, 2014 11:06 pm

SaSyXu
SaSyXu
Reps: 105
I agree...it shouldn't matter what race the students are, to be an effective teacher, he/she should try to build relationships with EVERY student!
  Posted on: September 14, 2014 1:27 am

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Solution 80
Posted May 27, 2014 6:56 pm

Josh Oglesby
Josh Oglesby
Reps: 69
I do not feel that Gina should have any reason to worry about her standing as a minority teacher. The poem is historically accurate and true and can be used as a learning opportunity on many different levels if that is the way they staff at the school wishes to approach it. Her real concern should be in being the new person in the school!
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Michael Herndon
Michael Herndon
Reps: 68
I agree. The poem can be used as a learning opportunity. Discussions of race and differences between students can always be used as a learning opportunity for students to learn more about themselves and about other people. Gina can use this opportunity to connect with her students and "legitimize" herself as a teacher in a predominately black school.
  Posted on: May 28, 2014 3:14 pm

James Moran
James Moran
Reps: 62
This poem can be a learning opportunity. However, teacher should try and foster an environment where problems in society are discussed in a proactive fashion. Students can discuss how racial discrimination affects them but they should also discuss how they can combat and overcome discrimination today. This will help foster a cooperative relationship between the races instead of a combative relationship.
  Posted on: June 2, 2014 3:06 am

Nick Thrower
Nick Thrower
Reps: 67
I agree Josh. In fact the way the teacher stands out may be a good opportunity to model how we should react to different situations.
  Posted on: June 13, 2014 3:25 pm

ezasyp
ezasyp
Reps: 107
I agree with your comment. I think Gina should focus more on being new in general than what racial background she comes from compared to her new students. If her students respect her as a teacher it is not going to matter to them what race she is.
  Posted on: September 12, 2014 5:56 pm

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Solution 81
Posted May 27, 2014 11:35 pm

Kristen Eason
Kristen Eason
Reps: 57
Depending on the grade level and the age of the student, I do feel that poetry can help students to think in a more complex and deeper was as students incorporate different uses of analogy’s to help with feelings and emotions. Since Gina is only a student teacher in the inner city school, I feel that she may want to get to know the students and staff members on a more personal level before making any huge judgment calls. If this is an elementary school, I feel that Gina has the ability, character and power to paint a better and more acceptable picture of white people for the other students at the school.
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aBugeS
aBugeS
Reps: 77
I do not think the poem will ultimately affect her ability to teach. I fully believe the students will judge her on her ability as a teacher. She should be aware of the students feelings of oppression when teaching. She should teach democratically and show her students that they are important to the classroom and that she cares for them.
  Posted on: June 1, 2014 4:06 pm

yXeBeX
yXeBeX
Reps: 114
I agree that her knowledge, effort and compassion as a teacher and a person is what the students will judge her on the most, not what was read in a poem. If these students are honest with themselves they will realize that the poem is coming from one persons feelings and perspective and does not reflect the opinion of the world.
  Posted on: September 19, 2014 6:49 pm

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Solution 82
Posted May 27, 2014 11:41 pm

Rachel Walker
Rachel Walker
Reps: 60
I think that Gina could turn this into a way to teach and grow with her students. She could teach a lesson about discrimination or oppression. I think that she could share any experiences that she has had were she felt discriminated or oppressed and they don’t have to focus solely on race. It can focus on gender, sexuality, culture, race, religion, occupation, etc. She can share her feelings and also learn about the feelings of her students at the same time. She could then try to teach the students about ways to deal with and identify discrimination.
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Michael Herndon
Michael Herndon
Reps: 68
I agree that it is important to express that many people can be oppressed, not just African Americans. She can share ways she may have been oppressed as a female, and students may sympathize with her and may give her more legitimacy in the classroom. Race issues are always a great topic of discussion, if it is handling carefully and appropriately.
  Posted on: May 28, 2014 3:10 pm

LaChristen Boyd
LaChristen Boyd
Reps: 68
I agree with your ideas on discrimination and suppression. I also think that she should do lessons that deal with discrimination and suppression involving all races so that non- black students can get idea of what it was like as well in the past.
  Posted on: May 30, 2014 6:39 pm

Caley Copeland
Caley Copeland
Reps: 69
Rachel,
Turning this into a learning opportunity is a great idea. Also making the material relatable to her students by sharing her experiences is a great idea. Bringing in other ways that people are discriminated by also opens up the lesson for deeper discussions late on.
  Posted on: May 31, 2014 4:09 am

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Solution 83
Posted May 28, 2014 3:08 pm

Michael Herndon
Michael Herndon
Reps: 68
I believe all poetry can have education value if addressed correctly. If Gina feels it is necessary, she should discuss the poem in class and have students analyze the poem and discuss their feelings and thoughts about the poem. Students could talk about ways African Americans have been oppressed in the past and see if those same methods of oppression occur today. Students could discuss the things they can do to remedy this issue.
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Nick Hanna
Nick Hanna
Reps: 71
I agree with this solution. From the sounds of the situation, the poem would carry some good education merit in a classroom, specifically a history or Language Arts classroom. By introducing the poem to the students again in class and actually analyzing it and having the students reflect on its will help you and the students. The students will be given a chance to discuss their views and opinions and you will get an opportunity to see where the students are coming from in their opinions and possibly add to the discussion. Something like this should never make a teacher doubt their legitimacy as an educator, but just help them to understand where some of their students are coming from in their perspective.
  Posted on: May 28, 2014 8:29 pm

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Solution 84
Posted May 28, 2014 8:43 pm

Nick Hanna
Nick Hanna
Reps: 71
I want to start off by saying that most teachers that worry about their legitimacy as a teacher because of something as small as this are more than likely a good teacher. The reason I say that is because many teachers out there that are truly not making an impact would not have cared or given a second thought about the poem and it wouldn’t have crossed their mind that they don’t make a difference in their students. Gina just needs to hear positive reinforcement that she does make a difference and that a poem does not define her legitimacy. Gina could also discuss the poem in her class and have her students reflect on their thoughts about the poem and if they believe that African American are still oppressed today. As a history teacher, I would enjoy this discussion to find out the opinions of my students and to know the reasoning’s for their opinions.
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Solution 85
Posted May 29, 2014 1:35 am

Elizabeth Comella
Elizabeth Comella
Reps: 51
Poems can tell a story and impact cultures in different ways. The way a person reads the poem rather with excitement or emotion can have a huge impact on how the audience interprets the poem. In a large assembly teachers should be respectful to the diverse cultures in the audience. Gina needs to consider if the poem would be offensive to the dominate culture before reading it to the entire school.
Gina is concerned that if she reads the poem it will have an impact on her legitimacy as a teacher in a predominately African American school. I would caution Gina on reading the poem during the all school assembly if she is unsure on how the poem will affect her legitimacy. While the poem does discuss the history of events it could be misunderstood. If students or teachers misunderstand the meaning Gina could very well loose respect from the students and other teachers.
I would suggest that Gina read the poem in the classroom where the students can have a discussion on their thoughts and feelings about the history of the poem. Gina could explain what happened during these difficult times and show how African Americans had to overcome challenges over time.
Elizabeth Comella
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Solution 86
Posted May 29, 2014 1:39 pm

Sara LeClair
Sara LeClair
Reps: 68
Gina will immediately be fighting her battles as she walks in the door, not just because she is white, but she is of a different culture from the rest of the school. I experienced a situation similar to this during my student teaching experience and I was able to overcome the obstacles by trusting in my faith and understanding my purpose here was needed. Gina needs to hold her own and be confident in her teaching skills, because in the end, that is the reason she is there. She can only do her best when it comes to teaching these students, and she must focus on this aspect of learning and teaching. She may deal with discrimination and after effects of the poem, but she can only prove herself by being a loving and giving teacher to those students.
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Hannah Nabors
Hannah Nabors
Reps: 68
I agree that this the time for Gina to "hold her head high." She cannot be all things to all people and may experience discrimination, but her job with her students is for the greater good. There will be many instances throughout the year, where Gina may learn from her students and vice versa. This would be a great opportunity for Gina to be the student, giving voice to the emotions evoked in her students following presentation of the poem.
  Posted on: May 29, 2014 8:34 pm

LeeAnna Elder
LeeAnna Elder
Reps: 75
I teach in a dominant African-American school/ community. At first it bothered me, how all the events, and programs were centered around the African-American culture. It made me nervous, and I felt akward. It makes sense for all these events be centered around the African-American culture, because that is what there is there. Very few whites, and even fewer Hispanics. Over the past several years I have learned to embrace the African-American culture specifically school related, but I also cherish and honor my own white culture, and continue to be myself. I hope that Gina from the story does not loose her cultural identity, and that she can embrace other cultural identities.
  Posted on: June 12, 2014 7:08 pm

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Solution 87
Posted May 29, 2014 2:05 pm

Susan Esra
Susan Esra
Reps: 68
I think that your sister's thoughtful reflection of the poem lends credence to her legitimacy as a teacher. If the ideas and topics mentioned in the poem relate to the class that she teaches, she can invite discussion or reflection through a writing assignment with her students to gauge their feelings on the subject. She should not doubt her legitimacy- the way she teaches her students is the only thing that proves/disproves that.
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Solution 88
Posted May 29, 2014 3:44 pm

Kimberly Rahn
Kimberly Rahn
Reps: 70
I believe that she can't hide behind the facts; however, she could use this as a positive learning experience for her students. Poetry is taught in schools and it is a great way for students to make inferences, make connections, and use their critical thinking skills. I think that if this teacher uses her skills to make a positive impact on their life, there will be no doubt that she is a great teacher and they will come to respect her and view her ideas as positive.
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Solution 89
Posted May 29, 2014 4:30 pm

Amy Fletcher
Amy Fletcher
Reps: 67
I think that it is appropriate for Gina to read poems of this nature whether it is mostly black or not. As teachers we have to follow state objectives and standards and this type of poetry may be part of the curriculum. We have to teach kids to be aware of different genres and sometimes students may take offense, but it is not meant to be taught or read for that purpose. It is important that teachers make students aware that things were written to portray how things were many years ago and that it is a part of history.
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Jennifer Loncon
Jennifer Loncon
Reps: 68
I agree Amy, the purpose of anything used in the classroom should be to inform and educate our students. Our world has a history that makes many uncomfortable for various reasons, but that does not mean that it should not be taught.
  Posted on: June 1, 2014 11:32 pm

aheduX
aheduX
Reps: 112
I agree with you. Although some readings that students come across while going to school might tug some strings, it is important that they understand that most of the readings are to portray the past. The past is the past, but it has a lot to do with our present and future.
  Posted on: September 22, 2014 1:25 am

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Solution 90
Posted May 29, 2014 4:36 pm

Nick Thrower
Nick Thrower
Reps: 67
It seems that she is already taking steps in the right direction. She realizes that she may represent a culture of oppression. However, this is an opportunity for her to show that she is not oppressive. I think she needs to differentiate according to culture by using culturally relevent texts!
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Solution 91
Posted May 29, 2014 9:54 pm

Ashley Mays
Ashley Mays
Reps: 64
I do not believe that Gina should worry about her legitimacy as a white teacher in a predominately black school. I actually think that its great that the poem moved her and I think this is something that she can and should share with her students. I think this is a way that she connect with her students and show that even though these events from history are accurate it does not mean that she agrees with them or has that same attitude. I think this would be a way that she could create a better relationship with the students that she teaches in her classroom.
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Solution 92
Posted May 29, 2014 10:41 pm

Alisha Wesley-Moore
Alisha Wesley-Moore
Reps: 60
African Americans are taught to remember where they came from and the oppression of their ancestors so that the youth can strive for greatness. As an African American woman and mother, I teach my children of the struggles that our ancestors had not to disapprove of white teachers or white peers, but to be inspired to be more. Gina can use this as an opportunity to discover more about the black culture, while allowing them to learn more about hers. She can teach her students that while some whites oppressed the blacks, many fought side by side with them fighting for equality. She can talk about activist such as Joan Trumpauer, who, in 1961 was placed on death row at the age of 19 in Parchman Penitentiary for her constant acts to prove that we are all created equal. Although she was released after a few months, she continued to be an outcast because she refused to be silent about the inequality.

Yes, such poems have an educational value. Our history as African Americans is important. She should also show that she is interested in learning more about their culture so that she can understand how to relate to them. At the same time the students should have a glimpse into her culture as well.
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Kateline Vaughn
Kateline Vaughn
Reps: 106
I agree that it is important to teach children about their history and to value it. It is an important aspect of their culture, and it should be remembered. Poems like the one that Gina's student read has educational value and meaning. It is important for her because it portrays where she came from. It is important for Gina to understand that and value the student's history. It is also important for the students to value Gina's culture as well. I think this can be a learning experience for both Gina and her students.
  Posted on: September 16, 2015 11:53 pm

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Solution 93
Posted May 30, 2014 1:16 am

wendy burns
wendy burns
Reps: 80
I wouldn't see that she would have to worry about her legitimacy as a white teacher. If there is an issue with the poem being read, then the debate should be about the poem, not her ability to be an effective teacher because of the color of her skin.
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Solution 94
Posted May 30, 2014 6:33 pm

LaChristen Boyd
LaChristen Boyd
Reps: 68
I think the educational effects of the poem has ties in both history and English. I mean she is reading a piece of literature based off of history. That's very educational. I don't think it should have a negative effect on her legitimacy as a teacher. Yes, it was perhaps a racial and emotionally charged poem, but it's not like shewrote it. She read it to give her students knowledge. It wasn;t personal, nor did it depict her feelings. I think she needs positive encouragement. She considered her students' culture with this poem. SHe exposed them to what used to be.
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Solution 95
Posted May 31, 2014 3:58 am

Caley Copeland
Caley Copeland
Reps: 69
I understand Gina’s response and I believe I would have the same doubts in a similar situation. It is important for Gina to believe in herself as a teacher and know that she can overcome any challenge that she may face. We can’t change the past, but we can embrace it and learn from it in order to have a better future. Her role will still be to educate her students no matter what race or culture they are. The poem just reminds us how far we came, Gina can focus on the good and teach her students acceptance and love from it.
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zuPeQy
zuPeQy
Reps: 99
I agree that we cannot change the past however we can learn from it and use it to change what happens in the future. The teacher also needs to remain confident because she can have a great impact on her students even being different.
  Posted on: September 13, 2014 4:32 am

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Solution 96
Posted May 31, 2014 7:23 am

Justin Redmond
Justin Redmond
Reps: 51
The best thing Gina can do is to make sure that her classroom provides a safe and positive learning environment for her students. No matter the color of your skin, students respect teachers that care about their well being and their individual needs. Gina should discuss with students the truth behind the poem but ensure students that her classroom is free of oppression. In the future, Gina might want to include more history of African Americans in her class to show that she is culturally sensitive toward African Americans. As students realize that Gina actually cares about their history, they will accept her as a legitimate teacher, no matter what color she is.
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April Rozier
April Rozier
Reps: 110
I agree that students are very accepting of teachers that show they care equally for everyone regardless of race. Gina will be able to establish herself with the African American students and other races to the point that she will receive the same respect that she gives.
  Posted on: September 15, 2014 10:59 pm

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Solution 97
Posted May 31, 2014 11:05 pm

Cardia Foster
Cardia Foster
Reps: 73
Being that Gina is doing her student teaching in a predominantly black school, It's great that she approached the job with purpose instead of being timid or scared. Many times poetry doesn't have an educational effect, but it has another purpose. I think that this would be a great time for Gina to make the students culturally aware of her culture. Being that the students are predominately black she needs to have effective planning.
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Solution 98
Posted June 1, 2014 12:49 am

Tiffany Parker
Tiffany Parker
Reps: 69
I do not think this situation would affect her legitimacy as a White teacher in a Black school. Her teaching ability should not be based on her race. It should be based on her teaching ability. I think it is very important to use this knowledge to her advantage and express her respect to her students. This could allow her to feel closer to her students and understand their cultural backgrounds.
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Jordan Nelms
Jordan Nelms
Reps: 104
I agree that her teaching legitimacy should not be based on her race, but on her ability to handle herself, her students, and situations in the classroom.
  Posted on: October 20, 2014 4:10 am

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Solution 99
Posted June 1, 2014 3:40 pm

aBugeS
aBugeS
Reps: 77
I think that the poem is not going to take away from her legitimacy as a teacher. Ultimately, she should act in her professional role and be the best teacher she can be. By showing the students that she cares for their needs and she appreciates her students she can overcome established stereotypes through her actions. Actions to me always speak louder than words. If she does this she will help her students see her as the individual she is.
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NyVyTy
NyVyTy
Reps: 90
I agree, Gina should still approach her job as a professional. I think she should also incorporate lessons that will generate conversations about the topic so that the students can express their opinions. That way Gina will hear directly from the students instead of wondering how they truly feel about her.
  Posted on: September 7, 2014 5:28 pm

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Solution 100
Posted June 1, 2014 11:30 pm

Jennifer Loncon
Jennifer Loncon
Reps: 68
I definitely feel that poems with deeper means such as the one described have educational value. The feelings expressed through that poem, while they may make some uncomfortable, speak the truth about what others felt/feel. As far as her legitimacy, that depends on her purpose and drive in her classroom, not the color of her skin. She should create a classroom environment that encourages students to open and honest, but also respectful of others.
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Solution 101
Posted June 2, 2014 1:59 am

Cierra` Barksdale
Cierra` Barksdale
Reps: 61
One of the worst mistakes an educator can make is to devalue what they do not understand. Legitimacy as a teacher is not rooted in one's comfort level, but the willingness to be educated even while operating as an instructor. The teacher has an opportunity and obligation to meet students at their respective places of understanding and challenge them to think and see beyond the surface. The teacher has an awesome opportunity to marry theoretical knowledge with practical people skills. This effort legitimizes teachers and pushes students to use any and all creative methods of expression to report facts for both teacher and student growth.
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Alisha Wesley-Moore
Alisha Wesley-Moore
Reps: 60
Yes, absolutely. I think this could be a great opportunity for Gina to not only learn more about these children, but give them the opportunity to learn about her. I previously stated that African Americans are taught to remember African American History to know and grow. No one should ever devalue!!!
  Posted on: June 17, 2014 8:24 pm

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Solution 102
Posted June 2, 2014 2:37 am

James Moran
James Moran
Reps: 62
I think its important that students not learn to dislike European Americans because there has been a history of oppression in the past. It is important to learn about these issues but it should not create resentment towards people who are not apart of the oppression. I think a good activity to add to this poem might be an activity where students brainstorm ways to stop oppression from the past happening again. This way students will practices overcoming the oppression from the past rather than resent people for mistakes made in the past.
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Solution 103
Posted June 12, 2014 7:02 pm

LeeAnna Elder
LeeAnna Elder
Reps: 75
Being a white teacher in a school that is dominated by the African-American culture can be intimidating. I think she needs to express these concerns to her administration or host teacher. The next big thing is she is not tied down to that school forever. Learn something positive about her culture in the area or topic of humanity, and share with her students or the school. Creating a positive cultural identity and positive cultural self worth can decrease the impacts of such poems, plays, literature, et cetera.
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Solution 104
Posted September 7, 2014 5:25 pm

NyVyTy
NyVyTy
Reps: 90
You should encourage your sister that she should still approach her job with optimism and purpose. I doubt if the poem had little, if any, educational effect simply because students have been taught about oppression in this sense since their early years of schooling. If anything, I believe that the students have been taught about African American oppression, and have learned to take pride in it. They have learned that to treat others unequally is wrong, and I doubt if they want to make her feel uncomfortable considering the things their ancestors have already gone through. Perhaps having a forum with the students to discuss African American oppression, as well as Gina’s view as a White American will be helpful in relieving some of Gina’s worries.
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Solution 105
Posted September 10, 2014 7:10 pm

aHeRaL
aHeRaL
Reps: 112
When it comes to literature, depending on the context, almost all pieces of writing have at least some educational value. This poem can be used to discuss the various elements of poetry and writing or it can be used to discuss historical context, the author's point of view, etc. The better question is whether the poem is appropriate or what is the purpose of the reading? Is the poem simply to create an air of hostility, is it to appreciate poetic writings, or is it used as a platform for discussion? As for your sister's perceived legitimacy as a teacher, that will really rise and fall with the circumstances. Her true legitimacy will be bound to her conduct as a professional, and she should conduct herself as such and create an atmosphere of respect and high expectations within her classroom, and hopefully the students will respond in the appropriate manner.
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Solution 106
Posted September 12, 2014 5:54 pm

ezasyp
ezasyp
Reps: 107
I do not think her legitimacy as a white teaching in a black school would matter unless she made it matter. I think once Gina gets it in her mind that the students will not take her seriously is when the students are going to see that through her and not take her seriously. If she carries herself in a way that shows the students that she is there to help them learn, then the students are going to respect her more. In my experience, my students do not really notice that things I worry about when it comes to historical truths. They are used to learning about these concepts. Adults are typically the ones that make the situation uncomfortable because they fully understand the meaning while the students are just learning. I think she should go in prepared and ready to teach her students and not worry the racial difference between her and her students.
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zaSyNu
zaSyNu
Reps: 58
I like your point of going into the classroom with her head held high and making sure the students do not see weakness within her after the speech. They need to see her as a strong and caring educator.
  Posted on: September 14, 2014 6:50 am

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Solution 107
Posted September 13, 2014 4:28 am

zuPeQy
zuPeQy
Reps: 99
I do not think that the poem would affect her ability to teach African American students. I also think the students are advantaged because they have a teacher who is different from them. Students need to learn how to accept other peoples differences and having a teacher that is different is a great way for that to happen. I think the teacher should express her feelings about the poem and allow the students to do the same. This sets up the environment for group reflection and seeing other peoples points of views.
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Qureby
Qureby
Reps: 102
I liked that you mentioned the students have an advantage because their teacher is different from them, and I agree with you. I also think that it would be important for Gina to use the poem as an opportunity to have an open dialogue with her students. Your suggestion of having her begin by expressing her feelings would help to make students feel comfortable doing the same and allow for everyone to feel at ease as they discuss a not so easy topic.
  Posted on: September 22, 2014 1:23 am

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Solution 108
Posted September 14, 2014 6:47 am

zaSyNu
zaSyNu
Reps: 58
I would tell her that if she thinks that may happen to her at her school and with her students, she needs certainly make sure that she sends the message to her students that she cares about their education and future, regardless of whether they belong to different races. They may have that opinion of white teachers within their school after that poem, however she can be the change they see in front of their faces, pushing them to be something great!
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Solution 109
Posted September 14, 2014 8:29 pm

Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith
Reps: 107
Gina is placed in a difficult situation. I am sure she will experience hardships being a white girl in a primarily black school. On the other hand, many people living in society deal with a similar situation in their own lifetimes. It seems like the poem being read at the assembly was not directed to her, so I do not think she should be concentrated about her acceptance in the learning environment based on the feelings shared in the reading. The student teacher should focus on her internship in the school and she needs to be concerned with learning about the students to help them acquire the material that is required by the curriculum. Gina has to be aware of the feelings that exist between the races, but she must realize that people will judge her based on her own actions and thoughts.
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GyJeWy
GyJeWy
Reps: 105
Well stated solution. I liked that you pointed out that the poem was not directed at her just European Americans in general.
  Posted on: September 21, 2014 2:19 pm

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Solution 110
Posted September 14, 2014 11:07 pm

aheduX
aheduX
Reps: 112
I do not think she should doubt her legitimacy as a white teacher in a black school. She seems like a teacher who takes her job to heart and is truly there for her students. If she continues with this attitude the students will see this and take her seriously. The students will see that she is there to help them learn and better themselves and not notice the racial difference. She needs to continue to help her students in every way possible.



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LeHyZa
LeHyZa
Reps: 107
You make a great point that Gina should carry on as normal. Her true intentions are to better the students. If Gina continues to show genuine interest in their education the students will differentiate her from the perspective of Whites they gained from the poem.
  Posted on: September 15, 2014 10:52 pm

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Solution 111
Posted September 15, 2014 10:27 pm

LeHyZa
LeHyZa
Reps: 107
Gina should be aware that the poem may have an effect on her legitimacy as a teacher in the eyes of some of her students. The poem could have elicited feelings of anger and resentment toward White people. If Gina feels that her students are treating her different or have lost respect for her, she should then devise a way to handle the situation. The students may not even be aware that their attitude toward her changed after hearing the emotionally charged poem. If it is only a few students she can speak with them individually if she sees fit. Perhaps Gina can plan a lesson that exhibits positive historical moments and figures where African Americans and Whites have come together in peace and collaboration. It isn’t possible to change history but Gina can try to positively change their perspectives on Whites in the 21s century.
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Solution 112
Posted September 17, 2014 12:24 am

aQazuV
aQazuV
Reps: 105
I believe that if Gina begins the school with confidences and sets a good rapport with her students from day one, her ethnicity should not be an issue. I know that there will always be a few students who are going to challenge her legitimacy as a teacher but I feel we have these challenging students no matter what the dominate race is in the classroom. I think that the speech should not affect Gina's optimism or purpose. She sounds like an eager teacher who has a passion for her job and this is probably the exact kind of teacher these students need. I reflect on the story "Freedom Writers" when I hear this case study. Erin Gruwell, who was a White "peppy" teacher who taught in an inner city school in California, did not let stereotypes divert her from her purpose of touching the lives of her students. Although she was completely understanding of her students' cultural backgrounds, she was able to hold them all to the same high standards and she was an incredibly successful teacher.
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Solution 113
Posted September 19, 2014 1:54 am

Myzusy
Myzusy
Reps: 113
It is good that Gina began her student teaching with purpose and optimism. She needs to understand that learning about African American history and culture through poetry is a wonderful opportunity for her students. The assembly was designed to educate and empower children form a culturly dominated ethnic group. Since African Americans are from a traditional dominated group it is cultruly relavent for them to feel the need to assert their identities. Gina needs to continue to share her culture with her students in a professional way. She could do so by teaching culturally divers lessons which would enable students to learn about others. She should also provide a friendly, positive, accepting classroom environment which promotes cultual awareness and accepance for all students.
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Solution 114
Posted September 19, 2014 2:11 pm

Whitney Johnson
Whitney Johnson
Reps: 97
I do not think that your sister should worry in this type of situation. I feel as if the students are recounting a time in history and then honing on that it still exists today. In the scenario, it is never mentioned that the students treat her any differently. It just states that she witnessed them expressing themselves though poetry. Poetry is a form of expression. In my opinion, I think that it is better the students expressed themselves through poetry rather than arguments or fighting. Perhaps she should talk to her own set of students and see their views on modern day racism. This will help your sister get a grasp of understanding toward the issues in the school.
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Solution 115
Posted September 19, 2014 6:40 pm

yXeBeX
yXeBeX
Reps: 114
The way Gina handles the situation is what will define her as a teacher, not the poem itself. I certainly think this needs to be used as a teaching moment. It can not be passed over due to the fact that it is an uncomfortable subject. I think it is important to talk to administration so she can inform them of her feelings and to ensure they approve of the lesson she will be teaching. She needs to be empathetic to the content of the poem and they way it made the students feel, but she should also shed light on the other side to allow the students a different perspective.
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GyJeWy
GyJeWy
Reps: 105
I agree, her perspective is important and should be shared so that the students have the chance to see both sides of the situation.
  Posted on: September 21, 2014 2:20 pm

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Solution 116
Posted September 21, 2014 2:17 pm

GyJeWy
GyJeWy
Reps: 105
It is important for her to understand that many of the students she will be teaching at the school may not take to her right away because of the interactions in the past they have had with white people. She will probably start at a disadvantage with most of her students but as long as she keeps that optimism and purpose she will be able to show her students she cares and that they shouldn't stereotype all European Americans. This is also an opportunity to learn more about the students and their culture and to incorporate that into her lessons to show them she is focused on them and helping them achieve success.
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Solution 117
Posted September 21, 2014 10:38 pm

HaBuMu
HaBuMu
Reps: 52
I feel like the fact that she was moved by the poem is a good thing. It shows her openness to others and their experiences which is very useful in a place where she is a minority. As for her legitimacy, this should not affect her at all. Her teaching abilities are a part of her, regardless of her environment. However, management and relationships are two aspects for her to take into consideration. My suggestion would be to make sure that she focuses on students as individuals and not based on groups or race. Also, incorporating events that would mean more to their race would be a good way to show her respect and ability to cooperate with these students.
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aheduX
aheduX
Reps: 112
I thought the same thing, it was great that she was moved by the poem. It does show her "openness" to people and their experiences. She does need to focus on individual students and not the group. She needs to continue to gain the students trust that she is there for the students and to help them grow in their knowledge.


  Posted on: September 22, 2014 1:28 am

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Solution 118
Posted October 4, 2014 7:59 pm

ePeHyM
ePeHyM
Reps: 105
Your sister should not feel that her legitimacy a as white teacher is in any danger. This is actually an opportunity for her to earn the trust of her students and show them that she cares. She could do this by having a class discussion about how the poem made them feel, making sure to include how it made her feel. Each student will have a different perspective and it is important to let them express it.
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Kim Lucas
Kim Lucas
Reps: 107
This is a great opportunity for Gina to show her students through a discussion how different creative expressions can cause people to feel emotions and illicit responses in others. I like that you would have them compare their feelings and that each student would have a different perspective.
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 10:56 pm

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Solution 119
Posted October 5, 2014 10:51 pm

Kim Lucas
Kim Lucas
Reps: 107
The fact that Gina was moved emotionally by the poem is a wonderfully "human" reaction to an emotional historical time period. Because she is completing her student teaching, I would encourage her to speak to her teacher that she is working with, just to clarify what activities might be helpful, but she needs to have the understanding that the poetry reading does not effect her value as a teacher. She needs to see each student as one human that she may be able to teach and love and then enable to go out into the world and make it better. Encourage her to see herself as valuable.
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Solution 120
Posted October 7, 2014 8:26 pm

SaSyXu
SaSyXu
Reps: 105
I think your sister should talk to her students. Tell them how the poetry moved her and see how it moved them. If the poems moved them both the same, then they have something in common and can talk further about those poems. She could then have each student bring in a poem that moves them in some way.
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Solution 121
Posted March 6, 2015 11:18 pm

Pamela McBride
Pamela McBride
Reps: 87
I truly believe that the poem was an educational experience for the students. It is and should never be a secret that African Americans were not always treated equal by European Americans. It is very important for students to know about the past lives of their ancestors. The white teacher in the predominantly black school will be fine. It is totally up to the teacher to be able to form a great relationship with the students. The color of the teacher should not affect the feeling and emotions that teachers have for their students. It is great that the teacher is not black. Therefore, students and teachers can learn from each other and share different morals and values.
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Solution 122
Posted March 6, 2015 3:50 pm

Kris Peebles
Kris Peebles
Reps: 58
This is a very interesting situation as the student teacher is faced with an issue of culture shock. It is obvious that she is not used to the idea of teaching in a predominately black inner-city school. I would advise her to read up on some literature that tells about how to relate with the students. Being able to form relationships with people is usually the first step to solving any problem in education. Tell her to research the latest pop songs and interests of this group. Finding personal hobbies and things in common will help also.
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Pamela McBride
Pamela McBride
Reps: 87
I agree with you. The teacher needs to do some research so that she can have some type of knowledge about the values and beliefs of the black students. She did experience a culture shock but it is good because she can learn how to deal with her feeling and emotions better.
  Posted on: March 6, 2015 11:21 pm

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Solution 123
Posted March 6, 2015 5:14 pm

Kelly Jackson
Kelly Jackson
Reps: 103
I teach science so to find value in any poem is more difficult but I do know that many pieces of literature are used to teach historical events and cultures around the world. I think that she should identify this poem as a piece of culture for the student body of that school and, most importantly, use it to learn about her students. She may feel out of place at this school because she is the minority. However, she is still in a situation to encourage and make a difference to the students of her school. All students need to feel supported and understood by their teachers. It may take longer for students to trust her if they are use to having negative experiences with white people but it is not impossible. As far as her legitimacy, she is still the capable teacher she has always been. She needs to realize that it might be a struggle but that just increases the reward.

Oppression can only be eradicated when all people are treated the same by all. Each individual can take the opportunity to follow the Golden Rule and oppression would not exist. One person can start this movement, and maybe she is that person for this school.
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Solution 124
Posted October 20, 2014 4:09 am

Jordan Nelms
Jordan Nelms
Reps: 104
I'm sure being a white female, which is considered to be part of a majority race, would make me feel uncomfortable while working in a predominantly Black school, especially with the poem being read. I too would probably feel as if everyone were looking at me as a part of the group of people who mistreated African Americans. However, I would have to tell your sister that the poem, or her race, shouldn't affect her legitimacy in the classroom. Her teaching ability has nothing to do with her race, the race of the students she is teaching, or history. It has everything to do with how she is able to handle herself in the classroom. This is a tough situation.
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HyraLe
HyraLe
Reps: 73
I agree with your comment. This has everything to do with how she is able to handle herself as an educator, not the poem. Words from an experienced teacher will help her see that.
  Posted on: October 27, 2014 5:59 am

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Solution 125
Posted October 27, 2014 5:54 am

HyraLe
HyraLe
Reps: 73
Explain to your sister that yes the poem has educational value. Students have to understand where they came from to be able to understand where they are going. This poem was painting a picture of the oppression of African Americans by the Europeans which is something that really did happen and is an important part of our history as well as the history of African Americans. Also explain to your sister that he poem should not have any effect on her legitimacy as a white teacher. Would she feel this way at a majority white school? Probaly not. As educators it is very important to stay focused on our task and not allow are emotions to get in the way of doing our job successfully because there are times when we as educators we will be put in situations that make us feel uncormfortable. Since she is an aspiring teacher she needs your support to help her stay positive during this time
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Solution 126
Posted February 27, 2015 6:21 pm

Alma Sakonjic
Alma Sakonjic
Reps: 38
I have had several incidences where my authority and value as a teacher was challenged because I am white. My first experience was when I was a substitute teacher at the high school where I graduated from. An African-American student came into the class late and I asked him to go get a tardy pass as is protocol. He said “You think just because you’re white you can tell me what to do?” I was flabbergasted. I didn't know how to react. Several other incidences occurred during my substitute teaching years where I had students verbally lash out against me because I was white. My first year of teaching US History was to a class made up entirely of African-American students. Like the case above, I had a lot of questions about my validity and credibility as a white teacher teaching African-American students history of United States. I wanted to make sure that I satisfied them about their history. Also, how will I approach sensitive topics such as slavery and Jim Crow laws and tell those stories with fairness and balance to this population of students. Often times when I would discuss controversial topics I would make comments like “This is how I understand it to be, what do you guys thing?” or “This is just one side of the story, how would it be different if Chinese-Americans or African-Americans told it?” I would throw the ball back in their court and allow discourse to take place. I came to understand that they did value me as an educator despite my skin color. I think being fair to them and answering their questions honestly about African-Americans being oppressed and underprivileged throughout most of United States history brought them to an understanding of the topic and respect for me. Therefore, as Dr. King wanted it to be, I was judged by the content of my character not the color of my skin.
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JuMaPa
JuMaPa
Reps: 100
*Insert something that hasn't already been said on this topic*
  Posted on: March 2, 2015 3:39 am

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Solution 127
Posted March 2, 2015 3:54 pm

Kristine Morris
Kristine Morris
Reps: 153
Depending on the subject matter, she may want to have the students discuss in a brief essay what the poem meant to them from an educational view. However, she will have to define that this not an opinion type of assignment but whether what did they get out of the reading. There are so many different viewpoints on whether oppression of African Americans still fully exists, but I do not feel that she has an issue in regards to being there. The question is, she is the only white teacher at that school? Do the other teachers have the same concerns as she does? She just will have to take a stand and if a situation arises then she will have to handle it just like any other situation and allow students to understand that the punishment is not because of race or culture issues but of what incident occurred and needs to be handle appropriately.
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Kelly Jackson
Kelly Jackson
Reps: 103
I agree but even if she is the only white teacher at that school, she is a capable and trained professional. She needs to work to understand her students, just like she would do in any school, and then build connections in order for them to respect and want to learn from her.
  Posted on: March 6, 2015 5:18 pm

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Solution 128
Posted March 3, 2015 1:45 pm

epujaN
epujaN
Reps: 41
Regardless of your sister, or the student's race, the history of oppression is still there and it is important to teach. A poem that is emotionally charged can help students talk about issues that their parents and even they experience. I would say that poem may open up a dialogue between the students and the teacher and may help both sides learn about things they didn't know before. I imagine it can be frustrating to feel like she may lose her legitimacy, but I think talking about the poem and its contents with her student is the best route to go. We often skirt around tough issues because we don't want to offend anyone, but really as teachers it is important to address it head on so that students understand that you know where they are coming from, and that you are not there to oppress anyone, but to help everyone, regardless of race.
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Solution 129
Posted March 10, 2015 12:25 am

qyzeha
qyzeha
Reps: 105
I do not think she should worry that this poem would have a negative effect on her as a teacher. I think your sister can use this poem as a great learning tool. This is definitely a difficult issue to discuss because emotions can run extremely high with this topic. I think it would be a great experience for your sister to share her thoughts on the poem and how she was moved. She could then give the students she is working with an opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions on the poem.
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Solution 130
Posted March 10, 2015 1:26 am

Thomas Layfield
Thomas Layfield
Reps: 35
I think poems such as the one mentioned in the scenario certainly have educational value even if a teacher or student happens to agree or disagree with their message. One of the wonderful things about poetry and literature is its ability to accurately convey emotion and spark discussion and debate. While it may be difficult or uncomfortable for a white teacher in a predominantly black inner-city school to approach an issue like this, in my own experience (which was very similar... minus the poetry) the sooner a teacher can demonstrate to students of different backgrounds that they are open to their perspectives, the sooner they will develop a relationship and real learning can begin. I don't personally feel that any teacher should worry about their legitimacy as a teacher for any reason beyond their competence as a teacher. While there are often initial bumps and barriers between teachers and students of different backgrounds, once students figure out that their teacher knows what they are doing and will bend over backwards to help them be successful, those issues tend to dissipate. Being open and understanding in situations like the one mentioned above doesn't hurt either.
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Solution 131
Posted March 10, 2015 5:28 pm

Robyn Jones
Robyn Jones
Reps: 104
We have to understand that history is history, but there are people that still dwell on the events of what's happened. I don't think her race has anything to do with it, but it's all about her approach. She has to show them that she's about business, but she also has to almost treat them as she would her own child. It's the same situation at my school, but when you look at how some white teacher approach a classroom full of African American students vs. another, you would see what I'm talking about. It's best if she is up for the challenge and shows them that she's there for them and would do anything to see them be successful.
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Qybuse
Qybuse
Reps: 118
I think what you mentioned about this teacher's approach is crucial to any situation, especially one that might be sensitive to her audience. Regardless of our similarities or differences with our students, it is important that we have respectful, open dialogue with our students. I want my students to feel comfortable sharing and asking questions so we can have meaningful conversations. Sometimes I feel like we have the most educationally meaningful moments in our conversations as a class. If I approached things in a critical or judgmental manner, I know that my students would not feel comfortable opening up in these conversations.
  Posted on: September 21, 2015 1:19 am

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Solution 132
Posted March 11, 2015 11:34 am

ynusuM
ynusuM
Reps: 103
Students may at first be wary of a teacher of a different color, but time can change that. Most students are able to see past color with their teachers if they can see that teacher as a person who respects her class and all her students. I am white myself and teach at a school that is mostly non-white. I do not feel like an outsider and I am not treated like one. I have adapted my teaching style to meet the needs of the students I teach and we work together to achieve the goals that we want to reach. It all comes down to respect for each other.
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Solution 133
Posted March 11, 2015 4:23 pm

yTuGub
yTuGub
Reps: 107
Your sister is in a place that many European American find themselves when they teach in predominantly African American schools. She has to embrace her true self and not try to take responsibility for others who have gone on before her, wile at the same time she cannot minimize the fact that these things actually took place. As time goes by and the experience kicks in, she will become more comfortable in sharing her own story. I would advise her to involve the students in conversations that helps them to see that strides have been made to prevent this terrible thing from repeating itself.
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Solution 134
Posted March 11, 2015 11:49 pm

Brittany Rosa
Brittany Rosa
Reps: 37
It may have been hard to see the educational value of the poem because they are societal more than cognitive. Anything that arouses a student's interest and passion can be said the have educational affects. It helps them have an opinion and support that opinion with facts out in society. I do not think the poem itself will affect your sister's legitimacy, but I think she will have to prove herself to her students. This is not because of the poem, but because of the history the students know.
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Solution 135
Posted March 12, 2015 2:20 am

qeDyRe
qeDyRe
Reps: 44
My first response to Gina if she approached me with this situation would be a few questions. First of all, why was this assembly called? What was the period of time that poem was referencing? Who was the presenter? I believe the answers to these questions could seriously impact the answer to Gina’s question. However, with the limited information in this case study, I have formulated a response. The answer to her question is yes, it absolutely will affect her legitimacy as a white teacher in an all black school. This situation is unfortunate. There is a difference between understanding and appreciating social problems from the past and embracing them as defining principles in the present. The sad truth is that for many young black people, they are fed so much false rhetoric from race mongers about how oppressed they are in today’s world; it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. When you paint a picture of that white people are oppressive without articulating that the world is different now and that’s just not the case, then you are instilling a hate that is unjustified and detrimental to the development of a young person. Conditioning young black students to falsely understand and believe they are oppressed is bad enough but to then paint the white person as the source of their oppression is even worse especially in today’s world where it’s just not true. So yes, there is great potential for Gina to lose her legitimacy as a teacher and leader when her students could possibly see her as the one “keeping them down”.

As for educational value, yes there is potential for this situation to contain some. Again, that is all dependant on the context of the presentation. If the presentation was historically accurate, presented in a manner that was meant to show a situation that long before today, helps to show how far we have come, encourages young black people not to squander opportunity, then yes there is educational value. If the only thing the students took away was an understanding they are oppressed with the white person to blame, then no that has no educational value. Her response to this situation should be to talk to her students about their understanding of the presentation and bring to light that which is reality and that which is merely inflammatory rhetoric. She should also discuss with them the advancements of society and how the material applies (if at all) to the world today.
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Solution 136
Posted March 12, 2015 6:01 pm

Kimberly Griner
Kimberly Griner
Reps: 40
I can see where this could make for an uncomfortable situation. I do not think she should worry about her legitimacy as a White teacher, just because of the poem. If she is a good teacher and is there for the benefit of the students, the students will know that. She could have a discussion with the students about how the poem made them feel, and about what history has taught us.
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Solution 137
Posted March 12, 2015 8:39 pm

qeRuNy
qeRuNy
Reps: 40
I don't think the poem will affect Gina's legitimacy as a white teacher. I think Gina should use the experience to talk to students about how she felt after hearing the poem. She could tell the students she is going to share with them how she felt after hearing it, but wondered if they had other feelings. I would stress to the students, that I want to hear their honest opinions and feelings. It is important for students to understand that people may have other opinions than you and it is okay. I think too many children aren't taught to have their own opinions and thoughts. They form opinions based on what their peers and parents think. It would be a good teaching opportunity to show them how to understand everyone's opinions, and listen to everyone's feelings. I think I would make sure I pointed out to my students that I might not agree with their opinion, because I have my own, but that doesn't mean their opinions are wrong.
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Edward Kim
Edward Kim
Reps: 106
The poem does offer a good opportunity to teach kids about acceptance and that just because someone has a different idea than you that that does not make them wrong. Race is a topic that everyone has a strong opinion about, sometimes so strong that they are not willing to listen to anyone else. Getting students to not only open up about how they feel but listen to other ideas are two important skills that students should know how to do by the time they leave high school. Gina has a good chance to not only talk about race but to also allow her students to develop good communication and social skills along the way.
  Posted on: September 7, 2015 5:03 pm

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Solution 138
Posted March 13, 2015 8:51 pm

Alexandra Snider
Alexandra Snider
Reps: 35
I can somewhat relate to your sister’s experience, being a white teacher at a predominately black inner-city school. I do not think that my students notice skin color yet because they are just 4 and 5 years old; however, the older students do notice skin color. I think the educational value or meaning to a student rests with the experiences that he/she has had.
I believe that regardless of the poem or skin color, students will accept your sister when they realize and understand her attitude for teaching and learning, and having the best intentions for the learners. The students will reciprocate the behavior of a teacher.
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Solution 139
Posted March 19, 2015 9:36 pm

Selena Robbins
Selena Robbins
Reps: 24
I had much the same experience during my second student teaching placement. Being from a predominately white, rural area, student teaching in a 98% black, inner-city middle school was an intense shock to me at first. I think that, as white Americans, especially in the South, we grow up believing that "we" are still to blame for some of the mistakes of the past (read: slavery). I grew up in rural Georgia but moved to Memphis, TN when I was 20 (that's where I did my student teaching). If you think that slavery is forgotten, you are incredibly and sadly mistaken. Memphis is the cesspool of racism and hatred in America. While at my student teaching placement, I pretty much did what I had to do and kept to myself. I did not, however, find that the students themselves respected me any less because of my race. I think that, if anything, they respected me less because I look younger than I am (even my university supervisor told me I needed to dress "older"...even though I was wearing dress slacks and a turtleneck sweater that day).

Since I have become a teacher, however, I have learned to be more open with my students about race and oppression. This semester, my language arts resource class is doing a unit on Civil Rights. We have been reading "While the World Watched," which is about the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama. I have a unique background for this because my entire family lived in Memphis, TN during the Civil Rights movement (including the assassination of Dr. King) so I have some stories that my parents have told me about that time that I am able to pass on to my students. Because we live in rural Georgia and my students have not experienced much (if any at all) racism, they do not understand the degree to which blacks were discriminated against.

If I were to give any advice to your sister, I would say to open up the discussion with her students. It makes me wonder if the students feel like they are being oppressed or are simply celebrating their heritage.
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Solution 140
Posted March 20, 2015 9:01 pm

Lara Komanecky
Lara Komanecky
Reps: 37
I think this "problem" opens the door for an interesting dialogue for Gina to have with her students. I think she can discuss her feelings and concerns with her class and then discuss their reactions to that as well. Clearly she should not tell her students she is worried about her legitimacy as a teacher. However, she can tell her students that she wants to know what their takeaways from the poem are and what educational value the kids perceived. I think this process will also help legitimize Gina's feelings and her sense of purpose as a teacher.
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Solution 141
Posted March 29, 2015 6:00 pm

Jill Nixon
Jill Nixon
Reps: 39
Universities need to better prepare students to go to a school where they will me the minority. When a university sends a White teacher to an inner-city Black school or a Black teacher to a White school for an internship, the college students need better cultural training (i.e., specific cultural coursework, practicum or volunteer work in community organizations within the community) for the culture they are going to be working in BEFORE they are sent to the school setting. Even more, the public school students deserve individuals who are better prepared to function in their culture. From my experience, this used to be more of a racial issue. Today, however, it is almost equally becoming a social economic issue. It is critical to remember that schools are designed to serve the children, not adults studying or working in the school.

From a curriculum perspective, educational literature recognizes that students learn from relevant content. I need additional information regarding what took place prior to the poem being read, was the poem analyzed during the assembly after it was read, and did the students engage any follow-up activities after the assembly? What was the purpose of the assembly? Not enough information was provided to determine if there was educational value to the setting in which the poem was read in the assembly.
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Edward Kim
Edward Kim
Reps: 106
Although I agree with you that universities could do more in preparing teachers I think you are oversimplifying the solution. One of the most stressful but best parts of being a teacher is dealing with hormonal, moody kids all day. No matter how much schooling you have there is no way to anticipate every problem that is going to come up. I have been teaching for a while now and every year I encounter a new situation that catches me by surprise and that I was not prepared me. Now even though I was not taught how to handle every situation I was taught how to handle difficult situations. Is "specific cultural coursework" going to help you deal with a student who comes to you in tears because they cheated and now feel so guilty over it or is volunteer work going to help you deal with crazy parents? There is no way that any school could prepare us for every problem we may encounter. If there was we would never actually get to do any teaching because we would be in college for the rest of our lives. However universities can give us the means to be successful through the building a community and good/effective mentor teachers. Those are things that prepare us.
  Posted on: September 7, 2015 4:57 pm

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Solution 142
Posted September 7, 2015 4:39 pm

Edward Kim
Edward Kim
Reps: 106
Slavery is a part of American history. It is probably the low point of American history. Because of this it is impossible to nor should it be ignored. However although things are different today, discrimination and racism is something that still goes on today. Your sister could allow her students to write about and talk about an instance in which they faced racism and discrimination and your sister should do the same. She could even tell them about the feelings that the poem brought out in her. I believe that this will help increase her credibility as not just a teacher but as a person. The fact that she is also letting her students air out their opinion and that she is willing to listen to them is a good thing as well. If a discussion and solution can be brought out then I believe that it has educational value.
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Kristen Bagwell
Kristen Bagwell
Reps: 107
I think you provide a unique suggestion in asking students to question whether the American culture continues to be affected by it's history. I think that, because of recent events, it would allow students to come together instead of maybe dividing themselves.
  Posted on: September 13, 2015 2:52 am

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Solution 143
Posted September 7, 2015 6:05 pm

Laura Doolittle
Laura Doolittle
Reps: 109
I feel like other students black or white should understand the historical truth of the oppression of African Americans. This should open up discussion with the students about the feelings towards the poem.
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Solution 144
Posted September 9, 2015 7:23 pm

Chelsea Abbott
Chelsea Abbott
Reps: 112
Discussing the poem with the students will definitely show that Gina is interested in how they feel. If she can connect with the students, I feel like they should open up to her. Trust can be gained and earned if Gina tries with the students. Gina may even write a poem herself to share with the students to show on how she feels about teaching. The students seem to like poems because it is how they translate their feelings the best. Ginas's legitimacy of a white teacher should only be questioned when it comes to her morals. Regardless of her race, she is still a qualified teacher that is allowed to be in the school. Getting to know the students and take the time to show interest in them will show the students how Gina is not just "another white teacher."
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ehyNyn
ehyNyn
Reps: 109
I totally agree. Gina must connect with her students and this might mean doing a little research. Good teachers do this anyway, not just with issues of race. To be a powerful teacher, one must know student interests and history. Also, they must address their cultures in their teaching. By connecting with her students, Gina will earn their respect and show them that she is qualified to be there as their teacher.
  Posted on: September 12, 2015 9:23 pm

Kateline Vaughn
Kateline Vaughn
Reps: 106
I agree that discussing the poem with the students will help them open up to Gina. When the students see that Gina actually cares about them, they will be more willing to open up to her. I think it would also be a good idea for Gina to write a poem to express how she feels so they are able to see her intentions.
  Posted on: September 16, 2015 11:39 pm

Amanda Whittaker
Amanda Whittaker
Reps: 114
I think that this is a great idea. When your students know that you care about them and want to know how they think and feel then they are more willing to open up and talk to you. A teacher should see no color and I honestly feel that students shouldn't either. We get into this field because we want to help all students.
  Posted on: September 20, 2015 1:31 am

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Solution 145
Posted September 12, 2015 9:21 pm

ehyNyn
ehyNyn
Reps: 109
It is no secret what happened between European Americans and African Americans. It is a huge part of American History, so it is important that the past not be forgotten. In the same light, though, she does not need to feel ashamed of what happened because she had nothing to do with it. Instead, she needs to understand the perspectives of African Americans and embrace their culture. Often, when I have students of different cultures in my classroom, I try to learn as much about them as possible and show them that I'm trying to learn about their culture and embrace it. For example, I have a student that has just entered our school district from Panama. Being that she is a native Spanish speaker, I have showed her the very limited Spanish capabilities that I have and she has embraced me as her teacher. I think this would be important for your sister. Show her students that she has embraced the cultures in her classroom and I believe the students will begin to embrace her.
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Kristen Bagwell
Kristen Bagwell
Reps: 107
I, too, think it's beneficial when teachers create a learning atmosphere between themselves and their students. Many of my students don't look like I do and weren't raised like I was. They ask my questions, and I ask them questions. They appreciate when I want to know more about them and their culture, and they do the same with me.
  Posted on: September 13, 2015 2:50 am

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Solution 146
Posted September 12, 2015 10:41 pm

Jasmine Bringuel
Jasmine Bringuel
Reps: 102
I would assure her that a poem does not determine the kind of teacher she is. The outer appearance of someone does not determine the kind of teacher they are. She may hit some barriers in her teaching, but it shouldn't be because she is a white teacher. I would tell her to hold her head high and continue doing her best to teach our future leaders, businessmen, etc... Her efforts and passion for teaching will be seen by her students and will determine their own opinion about her.
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Solution 147
Posted September 13, 2015 2:48 am

Kristen Bagwell
Kristen Bagwell
Reps: 107
So, facts are facts. History cannot be hidden. There is an educational value to poems that express the opinions, feelings, and experiences of oppressed groups. Despite this fact, though, your sister should not worry about her legitimacy as a white teacher. At the end of the day, she is there to teach students, and it sounds like she wants to do a good job. Students respond to people who are truly trying to help them. Additionally, just because she is white does not mean that she does not share similar experiences and/or interests with her students. A rapport can still be created, and she can still be effective.
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Solution 148
Posted September 14, 2015 1:15 am

Jill Elton
Jill Elton
Reps: 108
I believe that as a teacher, if you have the best interest of your students at heart, and they KNOW it, you should not worry about your legitimacy of being a white teacher in a black school. I feel that your sister, being moved by the poem, shows that she, too, is human and cares for all of human kind. Unfortunately, we can not go back in time to make right the wrongs. We can only learn from our mistakes and move forward. Too, I would use the poem as a way to have my students (assuming they were upper elementary) to express what they were feeling. This could be a valuable insight and learning tool into our student's lives.
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ezajaV
ezajaV
Reps: 102
I would begin by having a class discussion over the poetry. I would ask questions that would make the students think about how it made them feel and what they were thinking. As a teacher it is not our decision to decide whether the reading had any educational value. I think that I would tell the class how I felt about the poem and then this would lead to an open class discussion.
  Posted on: September 14, 2015 12:06 pm

Japuje
Japuje
Reps: 107
I completely agree with you. If your students know you care about them and you consistently show it they will respect and care for you the same no matter the color of your skin.
  Posted on: September 14, 2015 4:33 pm

Laura Doolittle
Laura Doolittle
Reps: 109


I completely agree with you. If the students know you care about them, then skin color does not matter for most. You are very right we can learn from our mistakes but we can not change the past.
  Posted on: September 16, 2015 8:30 pm

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Solution 149
Posted September 16, 2015 11:23 pm

Kateline Vaughn
Kateline Vaughn
Reps: 106
My first response would have been to talk to her mentor teacher and discuss the implications of the poem with them. Since they know the students in that school better, they will probably have a better insight to the poem. I would also have talked to my college professor to see how they would handle the situation. I think it is important to hear multiple points of view so you are able to have multiple insights to the situation. I would also address the poem in a polite and educational way. I would not be defensive towards the poem. I would express the poem as a piece of literature and talk with the students about the poem just as I would any other poem. I don't think it is necessary to be defensive towards the poem or the student who wrote the poem because that would create problems in the classroom. I think the best way to address this poem and presentation is to teach it as any piece of literature that they would study in class.
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Solution 150
Posted September 20, 2015 1:13 am

Amanda Whittaker
Amanda Whittaker
Reps: 114
I think that Gina needs to speak to her mentor teacher and find out how often this is done and if they look at any other races or only read about African Americans. She can also have a discussion with the class about how the poem affected her as well. Let the students know that other races can be affected by poems that are meant for one particular race. Gina should also see how the others feel about the poem and ask how it affected them. If the lessons have no educational effect, Gina has to make sure that she doesn't let it effect her teaching process.
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Hedynu
Hedynu
Reps: 112
I assumed, based on the reaction of what seems to be the majority of the students, that the poem was selected because it was a representation of the student masses. Perhaps the host of the event wanted to appeal and engage students; hence, why he or she selected or allowed that particular poem. Although the students’ response was somewhat uncomfortable for the teacher, I presume it received the energetic reaction anticipated and even welcomed by the event’s host. Your suggested questions to pose to a mentor would probably be great for providing further clarity about the selection’s purpose. Such dialogue will further provide an exchange for the teacher and mentor to find a way to discuss misgivings and move forward positively from the situation.
  Posted on: September 20, 2015 4:57 pm

Daisy Dumler
Daisy Dumler
Reps: 106
I think speaking to her mentor teacher is a great idea. I didn't even think of that.
  Posted on: September 20, 2015 11:27 pm

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Solution 151
Posted September 20, 2015 2:51 pm

Tetygy
Tetygy
Reps: 90
This seems like a very interesting poem to use at an assembly or beginning of the school year. Normally, schools gear more towards positive subjects and not ones that may be historically accurate but somewhat depressing. However, we cannot overlook their oppression during much of America's history. I think she has an upward battle even without the poem being spoken. But, she can win the battle through her compassion and attention as a teacher. I don't think the poem will directly relate to her job or affect it, but be mindful of it.
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Hedynu
Hedynu
Reps: 112
I agree-compassion is the key. Sometimes students just want you to acknowledge their pain, even if you cannot relate to the root causes of the pain. Empathy is an important characteristic that all teachers should try to employ in their dealings with students. I think a part of the teacher’s discomfort in this case study is a result of her cultural disconnect. That can really turn problematic if the students grow to feel that the teacher is dismissive of their frustrations.
  Posted on: September 20, 2015 4:46 pm

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Solution 152
Posted September 20, 2015 3:36 pm

Hedynu
Hedynu
Reps: 112
We know that poetry has many themes-many that are moving, beautiful, and powerful; others are full of emotions, tone, and controversy. Either category, words can always serve a purpose, one just has to connect the author’s purpose with the reader, no matter the reader. I tell my students when they are uninterested in a text for whatever reason-there is always something we can connect to-try to identify with the speaker or character in some way. By the students’ responses, the positive “educational effects” seems that the author’s word choice delivered an apparent tone. This is an important literary element that helps students translate meaning. If they were capable of understanding tone in the poem’s text, hopefully it will be easier for them to identify tone in other text, which in itself warrants optimism. However, the fact that the teacher was unable to connect to the poem or connect to the students’ identification with the poem does not make her inadequate. She is no more inadequate than a student rejecting Shakespeare’s “My Mistress Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun” because they do not speak in Elizabethan dialogue. As Joel Spring notes in our text, it is more important to focus on what we can connect to with diverse cultures, than our differences. The human race has far more in common than not. With that said, perhaps she should approach the poem with the idea that, “perhaps I have never experienced your [students] emotions in reference to the poem; but, I have experience, frustration, anger, etc.” These are all human emotions, so the question posed should be how can these emotions be channeled for change? We may not all connect culturally on every level, but surely we can connect by what makes us human, and that is found in our emotions.
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Solution 153
Posted September 20, 2015 11:26 pm

Daisy Dumler
Daisy Dumler
Reps: 106
Freedom of expression is definitely an educational value. The student was merely expressing the oppression that their ancestors felt. She shouldn't worry about the legitimacy as a white teacher at a black school. Not all people are racist and she just needs to earn their trust and respect as she would at any school.
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Solution 154
Posted September 21, 2015 12:28 am

Amanda Robinson
Amanda Robinson
Reps: 98
History is a very important subject that all students, regardless of color or culture, should learn. Teachers should not skim through slavery because they want to be sensitive to their black students. We learn history in hopes that we do not repeat the wrong and we can learn from the past. I'm a very young teacher. Many of my students are only a few years younger than me. Many of them look at me like I am an older sister when I first began. Their first impression was that I was not credible. Therefore, I proved myself in my classroom.
If I were this white teacher, I would be sensitve to the subject but I do not believe that her credibility is gone based on her race. She must build her credibility to her students and prove to them that she is there to teach them. She should tell her students that regardless of her race and the past, she is their teacher and she has no plans to repeat the oppression that occured.
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Solution 155
Posted September 21, 2015 12:44 am

yWasyD
yWasyD
Reps: 107
In my thinking most colored students knew about their history and about the oppressions from European American majority but I don't think they will use that to judge her so she should not feel that she is not welcomed at the school. She needs to show love to the students and if they know how much she cares they will probably forget about the color differences. She might talk to one of the African American teachers in the school about the educational effects of the poem as this will help her connect more with the school and the students.
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Solution 156
Posted September 21, 2015 1:27 am

Qybuse
Qybuse
Reps: 118
When thinking about Gina's experiences, I have to wonder if she has spent time building up her classroom community. I believe that before any content learning takes place, teachers should work to ensure that everyone in their classroom feels as if they are part of a community of learners. I think it is crucial for students to learn how to communicate effectively, but also to learn that we have differences that make us special. When creating a classroom community, students get to know each other, and they also get to know their teacher as a person, not just a teacher. The time that is spent laying the ground for a trusting environment is valuable in the long run, and it could help Gina and her students to understand each other a little better.

I think that covering a sensitive topic, like the oppression of African Americans, is appropriate in the classroom in the context of history. However, I think it is crucial for the class to have an open dialogue about the topic in a way that students can ask questions and Gina could have a chance to help them find the answers to their questions in the correct context of history. Just skimming through a poem like that might cause some of her students to become offended. However, if they take the time to look at the poem in the correct context and have an open and respectful dialogue about it, Gina shouldn't have anything to worry about.
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Solution 157
Posted September 21, 2015 2:31 am

uPaSeW
uPaSeW
Reps: 209
The poems will not affect her legitimacy as a teacher. I think she should allow these poems to be read in her classroom when appropriate in order for the students to be able to express themselves. By allowing them to express how their feeling or their culture, she is gaining their respect. If she shows that the poem made her uncomfortable, the students will pick up on that and may look at it negatively.
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Solution 158
Posted October 13, 2015 6:43 pm

PumuMu
PumuMu
Reps: 203
This was entertaining
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Solution 159
Posted October 24, 2015 11:14 pm

vapaju
vapaju
Reps: 126
This is 2015 and the color of a person never defines them. That statement should be the common knowledge but sadly is not. With that said, I suggest she focuses on team building and collaboration enriching mini lessons and activities. Then the focus is on what the individual brings to the team and class as a whole instead of attention o less important matters.
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Solution 160
Posted October 12, 2016 12:09 am

yNubas
yNubas
Reps: 101
I agree with you. I believe that with time and the more she teaches she will be more comfortable to rely messages in the right way.
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Solution 161
Posted October 13, 2015 6:33 pm

PumuMu
PumuMu
Reps: 203
This is a problem, maybe talk to the other teachers about it.
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nydyra
nydyra
Reps: 202
Poetry isn't a problem. They're not disrespecting, they're expressing. The teacher should show her interest and her admiration that they can stand up and tell the truth. She could give her perspective, and maybe even write poetry too, and show her respect as well.
  Posted on: October 17, 2015 7:39 am

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