Our Sponsors

image

image

Our Sponsors

image
image
image
image
areaarea areaarea image

Teachers Are People Too. Is Disdain for Our President Impacting the Education of Our Children?

On November 6th, 2012 the citizenry of the United States of America re-elected President Barak Obama to a second term in office. As the Former Governor of Minnesota Willard Mitt Romney conceded defeat and President Obama gave his acceptance speech, a myriad of emotions flooded the airwaves and in particular, the social media. Emotions ranged from jubilance and exuberance to shock, dismay, and the old standby, vitriol.

As the reinstated administration set about to resume the business of the nation, the losing party, the Republicans voiced countless reasons why Mitt Romney was relegated to nothing but a really, really rich guy, while their fervent supporters raised a ruckus and some, those who could, vented their frustrations by engaging in one of Mr. Romney's favorite past-times - firing people. Yes, some businessmen actually announced cutbacks and layoffs because President Obama was re-elected. Of concern to me as a parent and educator, is whether our teachers who happen to share this disdain for our president, and there are some who do, are able to separate their political emotions from their obligation to put their students first. Can educators who buy into the notion that 47% of the electorate are "takers", who "want free stuff", and who see the President, a hard working highly intelligent and educated leader as "lazy and not very bright", and feel that their country is being "taken away" from them really be trusted to instill a sense of hope into our young learners, particularly those students raised in poverty who some feel are living off their tax dollars.

Teachers are, for the most part, dedicated to their students, and so very many teachers nurture each student's hopes and aspirations, but teachers are people too. Generations after forced bussing and legally mandated integration, America is faced with the abject failure of our schools to adequately educate far too many of our young black, brown and poor students. During the 2008 Presidential campaign, teachers everywhere enthusiastically taught eager learners about the electoral process, even posting huge pictures of both presidential candidates. Then it happened: Our nation elected Barak Obama, the first African American to the highest office in the land. The morning after, in some corners of our nation silence fell. A number of people in America went into shock, rendered numb by the news that this African American was chosen as the next President of the United States of America. "How could this happen? This is "our" country...We want "our" country back!" Such sentiments are relentlessly expressed by a certain element of society, people who could not and perhaps never would accept a legitimately elected president if he is African American. Four years passed since President Obama was elected, four tumultuous years during which the ire and disgust of a certain element of society reacted shamelessly to everything that our President did, and everything that he is. This exposed the long held belief of many white people that they are indeed better than people of other races.

Educators learn how critical teacher expectation is to student performance, but teachers are people too, and sometimes emotion overrules intellect. I implore teachers everywhere to do some soul searching to see if your attitude toward traditional minority groups spills over into your expectations of these students. Do they differ from expectations you have of your white students? Think about what happened the day after President Barak Obama was elected, both times. Were you or any of your colleagues dismissive of students who approached you with exhilaration and great pride as they proclaimed that "Barak Obama won!"? Do they not deserve to be proud of their role models, in particular our President who holds the highest office in the land? What do you really think about the little Black and Brown children that you teach? Are you just tolerating them? Do you really believe that they can grow up to do great things, and are you conveying this to them? Do you think that even if they follow the rules, work hard, and become successful, they too should be viewed as lazy and not very bright, just because of the color of their skin?