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Posted on November 21, 2012 3:02 am
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Yasar Bodur
Yasar Bodur
Reps: 614
Black Intern in A Rural School
I am one of few African American students in my teacher education program. My last semester in the elementary education program is designated for a semester-long internship in a local school. I have been very excited about the internship. The schools around us are rural schools with majority White student populations. My first day at my assigned school was quite interesting. When I arrived at school, I easily noticed that almost all the students were White. My supervising teacher introduced me to other teachers in the school all of whom were White. I felt really out of place. Although they did not say or do anything wrong, I felt like they were looking at me in a strange way. At the end of the school day as I was driving out of the parking lot, parents were driving into the school to pick up their children. I saw a number of trucks that had racial slurs or confederate flags in their back bumpers. My discomfort turned into fear. How am I going to complete this internship? What should I do?
 
     
     
 
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Solution 1
Posted November 28, 2012 10:50 am

Adam Vandenhouten
Adam Vandenhouten
Reps: 97
I believe this could be an opportunity for you to show this community that just because your skin is a different color, that does not make you any less intelligent, successful, or professional. You can show the students through your lessons that you can be a great teacher. The faculty will see your professionalism and how you handle yourself in awkward situations and respect you for it (hopefully). The parents will see that you respect their children and are working towards bettering their education. However, being the bigger person does not always work out for the best but I think running away from the situation may cause regret in the future. Also, being a student teacher can be hard anyway no matter what race or gender because you don't really have a relationship established with the school. Creating these relationships with the students, parents, and faculty can help your experience become an enjoyable one instead of one you fear or dread coming to everyday.
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Solution 2
Posted December 7, 2012 12:48 pm

BreAnna Sinclair
BreAnna Sinclair
Reps: 118
This could be a great opportunity for you to represent African Americans in a positive way. Chances are, these students have had little exposure to African Americans. While you may have to be particularly careful in your actions at the beginning, you should be able to gain the respect of the principal and other faculty quickly. If the students find you friendly and respectful to them, they should have no reason to complain to their parents. I wouldn't worry about the bumper stickers and simply try to be voice of change and reason for those students.
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Colleen Keller
Colleen Keller
Reps: 92
I really like this advice because it helps them see that they can represent their race in a great way and show others what African Americans are like. I also like that you said that you may need to be careful of your actions because that is actually true for everyone, no matter what race. I agree that your personal actions about the situation will determine the outcome.
  Posted on: June 2, 2013 10:34 pm

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Solution 3
Posted December 1, 2012 11:28 am

David Sanders
David Sanders
Reps: 143
Almost 40 years ago I hired the first black supervisor into an all white southern Ohio manufacturing plant. His success was simple. He was professional, treated his employees fairly and stood with them in difficulties. Management stood behing the new employee as well, you don't side with prejudice people to secure their friendship.
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Solution 4
Posted March 11, 2014 7:00 pm

ZuRyPa
ZuRyPa
Reps: 36
I will have to agree with many of the comments, that you have to just be professional and do a good job. Your character and competence will come from the work that you do, not from the color of your skin. Let that good work be your voice. I think as long as you are professional and handle yourself with proffessionalism then everything would work fine. It could be a good learning expereince for the students and the parents. You can use your race and your experiences as a tool to educate others who have never had the experience of other cultures. I think if it is a concept that you yourself embrace, then everyone else will too.
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Solution 5
Posted December 8, 2012 1:47 pm

Lindsey Harrison
Lindsey Harrison
Reps: 108
This is a great opportunity for you to grow. I believe that you should look at this opportunity as a blessing. You may have been been in this situation before, but there will be many other times where you will be of the minority race. The more you are exposed to it the more comfortable you will feel. This is also a time for you to branch out and become more familiar with other races than your own.
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Solution 6
Posted December 9, 2012 11:22 am

Anna Washinger
Anna Washinger
Reps: 121
I believe this situation is a great opportunity for you to prove that race does not define your ability to teach. This opportunity allows you to represent African Americans and show how bright, intelligent, and prepared you are. Your main focus is teaching and the students in your classroom. If no one has bothered you or made negative comments towards you, I would just keep my focus on what is most important: teaching your students. I had a friend who got a job in a predominately African American school. She too, was weary at first because she felt as though the teachers and parents viewed her differently because she is White. She said that once the teachers saw her wonderful ability to teach and how much the students loved her, it seemed as though they were very welcoming and friendly. Just concentrate on what you can do and not what others may think. They should be able to look past race, especially when they see your teaching skills.
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Solution 7
Posted December 9, 2012 1:37 pm

Erin Warren
Erin Warren
Reps: 142
If you are that afraid of the parents, I would talk with my college supervisor. This way they can give you a little more information about the school. I would also talk with the principal and counselor of the school and get the school demographics. THey might give you a little more insight to the children in the school. I would try to stick it out, because you can show students a positive outlook and give them a great experience with a person of another color. Although you are scared, it might be a really wonderful experience for those children and yourself.
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Colleen Keller
Colleen Keller
Reps: 92
I really like your suggestion about talking to the college supervisor. They are there to help and assist you in your needs during your experience. I also think that talking to the principal and counselor could be a great way to help get some insight about the children in the school. I definitely think that being a positive role model of another color is a great way for those students to learn and grow as individuals.
  Posted on: June 2, 2013 10:37 pm

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Solution 8
Posted December 6, 2012 11:13 am

Booker Hobbs
Booker Hobbs
Reps: 56
First of all, that is just some of the ways many folk expresses their feelings and opinions about things or issues. To begin with, I will talk to the principal about the racial slurs that are manifested on the back of the parentís vehicles, which he probably is fully aware of. If there is no avail, then there is no need for me to over exert myself in trying to reason with him. (Proverbs 23:9 KJV says, Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.) (New Living Translation (©2007 states that if any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave, Matthew 10:14). I will report them to the state school board because their behavior will eventually filter down to their children/students. I would feel as I am just a token if I remain there, so I would leave. I am drawing a conclusion that my color (black) is not welcome there.
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Solution 9
Posted June 2, 2013 10:32 pm

Colleen Keller
Colleen Keller
Reps: 92
This situation is something that can be very difficult, but it is a great chance to really dive into your teaching and to show the students that no matter what race you are, you can be a fantastic teacher. It is very important for the students, parents, and other teachers to look at you as a person and not as a different race, and it is your job not to focus on that, but focus on the job that you were sent to do.
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Solution 10
Posted December 8, 2012 9:18 pm

Sha'keela McClendon
Sha'keela McClendon
Reps: 141
If you keep going to the school maybe this could be a good opportunity for you BUT if your discomfort has turned into fear than I suggest that you ask for a transfer. Having fear in your heart when you arrive and leave work is not a good thing. That causes stress for you which causes your performance to go down. These parents that have the racial slurs and confederate flags on their cars probably put them on there for a reason. If you decide to stay play by the rules. If these parents are racist don't make them say anything that could cost you your internship. Be careful and watch your back at all times. Everyone in this world is not going to help you succeed but they rather see you fall on your face.
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