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Posted on November 13, 2012 3:14 am
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Yasar Bodur
Yasar Bodur
Reps: 616
My Cooperating Teacher is Racist
I am a student teacher who cannot wait to have her own classroom in near future. I hope to be the best elementary teacher I can. Recently, I went to have my introductory meeting with my cooperating teacher for the student teaching experience. She is a fifth grade teacher. The meeting took place in the teachers’ lounge where other teachers in the school were able to hear everything said. At one point in the discussion my cooperating teacher, who is regarded as one of the district’s finest, told me that I will have to be especially careful to recognize that there are “white-blacks” and “black-blacks.” The white-blacks are easy to deal with because they come from “good” homes and have “good” values. But the black-blacks are less capable academically and have behavior problems. As I listened I was shocked by what she was saying, but I was even more shocked that none of the teachers in the lounge appeared to find what’s being said unusual . I have to complete my student teaching successfully to reach my future dreams, but I do not want to give in to my cooperating teacher’s ideas. I do not know what to do.
 
     
     
 
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Solution 1
Posted December 7, 2012 9:55 pm

Art Buff
Art Buff
Reps: 111
While her views on the different backgrounds of her students is very narrow I am sure she is speaking out of context. She has applied very negative labels to identify students. Now whether or not these labels are relevant to students in the class is in itself irrelevant. You will see for yourself which students are lagging behind in and causing problems in the class. Some of them may be the very students your co-op teacher had previously described. Does this make her stereotypical labeling right or correct (please note the difference) absolutely not. But to be honest years and years of teaching (or struggling to teach)conglomerates of students has a tendency to warp even the most idealistic teacher's point of view. All you can do is keep your head up, strengthen your resolve to be the best teacher you can, and press on toward that goal. Life will continue to throw you curve balls.
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Kathy Allen
Kathy Allen
Reps: 100
I think this is some good advice.
  Posted on: February 23, 2018 9:22 pm

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Solution 2
Posted December 9, 2012 10:15 am

Sarah Hogan Johnson
Sarah Hogan Johnson
Reps: 163
First of all, I would be in shock if this happened to me. You have to approach every situation with sensitivity because you are a student teacher. I would first schedule a meeting with my university supervisor. This school is hosting you as a guest. Because this is the case, unfortunately, you cannot control this teacher's actions. However, you do not have to give in to these ideas. Your clinical supervisor will most likely be just as appalled as you are. It is my understanding that in situations like these (at least at Georgia Southern), the university supervisor would most likely remove you from this placement. I know this doesn't fix the behavior, but in your position, all you can do is make the person responsible for you aware of what is going on.
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Solution 3
Posted November 29, 2012 10:00 pm

Jessica Oglesby
Jessica Oglesby
Reps: 110
This is a tough situation that you are in. Thankfully this has never happened to me, but if I had this is what I would have done. First I would try to avoid this topic of conversation, I would not give in to her opinion and elaborate with her conversation. I would do my very best everyday to show her just the kind of person that I am, fair, nonjudgemental, and open-minded. If there ever was an appropriate moment in conversation where I can reiterate the fact that people should not be judged based on skin color then I would elaborate in an appropriate and respectful manner. Since she teaches fifth grade, I would also try to take the social studies curriculum and strive to teach lessons around the Civil War. If allowed, I would teach the Civil War and explain the injustice and the mistreatment of African Americans during this time. I would teach these lessons to the best of my abilities and secretly hope that my cooperating teacher would learn something as well.
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Solution 4
Posted December 6, 2012 2:59 pm

Selena W Farmer
Selena W Farmer
Reps: 121
Wow. I would be shocked as well that other teachers around did not stand up to her and address such comments. As for me in this position, I would not give in to her beliefs or let me actions, in any way, suggest that I agree with her. I would continue student teaching in a respectful way with the teacher, but I would continue to show encouragement and provide just as many opportunities for participation for every student. If she continued to make comments, I would try to to politely say that they need just as much support as any other student in the classroom (with a smile of course!). Maybe, in this situation, you can be a good influence on your cooperating teacher while you are there.
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Solution 5
Posted February 11, 2013 10:42 am

Taylor Jones
Taylor Jones
Reps: 22
You must remember to stay strong and keep your beliefs in teaching. It is hard to work with a teacher who has different beliefs than you do but you must remember to not be influenced by their bad habits. You can still learn from this teacher by learning what not to do. You can notice the different ways that she treats her students and know that it is not the way you want to act. You need to continue with an open-mind and believe that all students are capable of succeeding in the classroom.
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raWubu
raWubu
Reps: 97
I completely agree with this solution. I would try and prove the teacher wrong and teacher her something. I would keep my head high and respectfully and professionally disagree with her.
  Posted on: October 19, 2014 10:18 pm

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Solution 6
Posted February 28, 2013 8:33 am

Candice Williams
Candice Williams
Reps: 102
Even though this is horrible to think that there are teachers like this, I have come across quite a few of them. It is sooo important that we treat all the students the same, it is even in our ethics code we follow! I would ask the teacher if they realized that they are breaking their code of ethics if I saw her actually treating the students differently. I do not know what we could do as co-workers. If the teacher is looked up to, it would be difficult to know who to talk to about the situation, considering most teachers probably like the racist teacher. This is a really tough situation.
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Solution 7
Posted March 2, 2015 3:48 am

JuMaPa
JuMaPa
Reps: 100
I would report her. And tell her i don't want to work with a pasty racist. But first of all, i would have stood my butt up in that meeting and STOOD UP for my students, given them the voice they so desperately need.
The lack of melanin in her skin must go pretty well with her lack of intelligence & her lack of caring for her students.
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Solution 8
Posted December 8, 2012 11:04 am

Ashley Williams
Ashley Williams
Reps: 118
I don't think the teacher is really racist but she is highly inappropriate. I was in a similar situation where a teacher I was under constantly talked about how poor the students were, and that's why she was failing everything. She was always talking about what the child had on, and would often say "I wouldn't send my dog out of the house in that." Yes, she was inappropriate, but she wasn't racist because she did the same thing with white students. I think that you're experiencing the same thing. Don't compromise your beliefs, you don't have to agree with her to be professional. Continue to do your job and attempt to make a goal to help her see things differently. Maybe this will help the time go by quickly.
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Solution 9
Posted December 8, 2012 2:47 pm

Amari Hagan
Amari Hagan
Reps: 115
I will just move on and apply what I have learned in the class. I will pray for that teacher and other teachers of that school that they have a change of heart. I should realize that the students are my first concern regardless where they come from. My responsibility will is to teach them and pass my student teaching. Once I am done with my student teaching and grades are completed I would go back to my cooperation teacher and tell her she is wrong for judging any students. I will let her know that every child is capable of learning and being successful regardless of their background. Also that she is there to teach and help them become better individual and not cast them out.
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Solution 10
Posted December 9, 2012 4:15 pm

Wendie Sikes
Wendie Sikes
Reps: 57
I think the teacher was trying to be racist. She have been trying explain her classroom but did not know how to effectively explain it. She should not have used the words white and black but rather just explained the issue. I would tell her that you are going to work on a classroom management plan to promote an environment that is conducive to learning for all learners. I would also tell her that it offends you that she used the terms she used and that it would possibly offend other people.
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Solution 11
Posted December 9, 2012 5:00 pm

Erin Warren
Erin Warren
Reps: 142
I think that this is highly inappropriate as well . I would just explain to your teacher that from what you have learned in college, you are to take every student as his/her own and you choose to learn the students and how they learn on your own, however you appreciate her help. I would try to connect with each child individually and show your teacher how you are connecting rather than tell her that she is wrong.
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Solution 12
Posted December 9, 2012 5:01 pm

sierra h
sierra h
Reps: 47
Being put in that situation is awful. Stand your ground it may not be your class room but you still teaching with your values not hers. her idea that her students might be difficult to deal with so they are more than likely brushed off these students most likely need the most attention. counter your teachers close minded actions and offer each child your full effort maybe this will show your "mentor" how when given an equal advantage her kids can do better.
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Solution 13
Posted February 12, 2013 6:22 pm

Chelsea Yoshimura
Chelsea Yoshimura
Reps: 24
I feel that the teacher was trying to discuss the SES of the students in her class. Although she may have been simply trying to inform you of the matter, it should have been handled very differently. There is no professional setting in which it is appropriate to use the term "white-blacks" or "black-blacks." Teachers must recognize that no matter the race of a child, coming from a good home environment is beneficial to their learning. Students need to be taken for who they are and not the stereotype that is placed on them. As a fellow future educator, I would take the time to get to know the students on your own time. This will allow you the chance to get to know them for who you think they are and what they are capable of. Educational professionals truly need to reevaluate how they discuss their students with others.
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Solution 14
Posted December 5, 2012 12:20 pm

David Sanders
David Sanders
Reps: 143
Perhaps you are misjudging the teachers in this school. There are lots of school districts where the politically correct descriptions of different groups would not be recognized. The teacher did recognize that there are two groups of black students in her class and that one of the groups needed more attention than the other. After all, this is the objective of our studying cultural differences in our students.
I don't agree with a definition of white-blacks or black-blacks but I don't like the title "socioeconomically disadvantaged African American's" either.
I would also be careful of labeling your teacher a racist. Just because she is not politically correct you don't know she is a racist. Does she believe that one race is superior to another?
I found out over Thanksgiving that people who like white meat from their turkey are racist so you need to be careful how you use that word.
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Lauren Hill
Lauren Hill
Reps: 99
Placing a label such as this is wrong no matter how you try to twist it around. It is these notions that lead to students not being treated fairly. By passing on this preset thought the teacher in directly affects how the new teacher will preform her job in the future.
  Posted on: October 20, 2014 12:18 am

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Solution 15
Posted December 9, 2012 12:17 am

Suzi Hancock
Suzi Hancock
Reps: 134
I think she was just trying to give you a head's up about the socio-economic statuses and demographics of the school and the classes you will be dealing with. I think she may have chosen the wrong phrases and words to express herself. I feel like a racist person would have used more derogatory adjectives to describe the students.

However, you might want to cover your tail and keep a log of conversations such as this. If something like this happens again, you'll know that it wasn't an accidental/awkward conversation... and you can do something about it because you'll have proper documentation.
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Solution 16
Posted December 1, 2012 4:42 pm

eRuLys
eRuLys
Reps: 16
I believe that it would be difficult to work with the teacher's in this system. My solution to help the "black-blacks" academically, would be to show as much support as possible. I would try to help the students with it problems they are facing. I would also observe those students who have behavioral problems and try to understand why they are having these problems. I would talk to the class as a whole and establish a safe environment.

Once I established a safe environment for the students, I would try to talk to the teachers about some of the things that I am implementing within my classroom to help with academics and behavioral problems. I would also asked the teachers if they were choosing any particular students as their favorites, instead treating the class as equal.
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Solution 17
Posted July 3, 2017 2:10 pm

ynaHah
ynaHah
Reps: 100
Great question. Many Teachers are racist, this is an issue at every school and its extremely sickening. Other teachers overlook the racist comments because this isn't the first time they've heard such comments and of them a many share the same belief. My advice to you is to pick his or her brain even more to see why she thinks the way she thinks. I read somebody tell you to respectfully let the teacher know you don't agree with that... Well if you do that right away he or she will hid it from you and you'll no longer share other issues you'll endure on your journey in education. Yasar Bodur I hope you're enjoying your summer. Keep up the great teaching.
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