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  Case: I Wish I Were Black!
As a teacher of 5th grade students, I try to make sure that my students have a good sense of all the people and cultures that make up this country. Last couple weeks, I paid special attention to the African American people who have made significant contributions to the US. We read a book written by Walter Dean Myers. We have studied scientists, writers, and political figures. Students were very engaged and interested in the content. Yesterday something happened that puzzled me. Three of my White students told me that they wished they were Black. This was not my intention when I planned all my lessons on contributions of African Americans. How should I address this issue?
Solution: (Rates are posted for this solution!)
This is indeed a very unique and ironic response to your assignment. It is typically the minority that feels inadequate with their contributions to American society, aside from agriculture and labor. I think the appropriate way to approach this situation is to first address that all three students are wondrously made; and then perhaps ask the question as to why they are not happy being what they were born. If the answer pertains to the lessons, I would point out that every ethnic group has made substantial contributions to the success of our country, and no one group is necessarily better or more important than the other. I would draw an analogy to a tapestry, and how each thread holds the beautiful presentation together. And that even by missing one small fiber could completely change the final product of beauty or cause the tapestry to fall apart. I would assure the three students that soon we would be reviewing the contributions that Whites have added to the country’s sustainability, and they all would be in awe, just as with African American accomplishments. This would also be a great opportunity to introduce the “toss salad” metaphor and explain how it relates to this scenario. It is apparent that the three students experienced what the author Joel Spring notes as interpretation of the world “shaped by a particular understanding of history”(139).
The suggested solution is respectful of the individual (student) Yes
The suggested solution is relevant to the case Yes
The suggested solution is reasonable (easy) for the teacher to implement Yes
The suggested solution is likely to solve the problem/issue Yes
The suggested solution is original Yes
Comments: Explaining to the students how each thread holds the tapestry together is perhaps the best way of letting the students know that we all need to work together as a nation to grow and introducing a new unit on whites' achievements and contributions cannot come at a better time.
Rated On: September 20, 2015 9:01 pm
Rated By: yWasyD