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Practice What You Preach

While finishing up my Blog entry for 10/2 about not taking things personal, I was attacked. Not physically, but by the words of a student that I have had to discipline several times. He chose to write several offensive things about me on a sheet of paper, and passed it around to several students in the classroom. It's not new for students to write and talk about administration. Actually, that means I must be doing something right!

As an educator I have to constantly help students achieve. That is done through the process of education. If there are thing that the students do not understand, then I have to try and get them the information. It's all part of the process. With that being said, I have to address the blatant disrespect of dreaded (N Word) being used as an everyday word.

I remember my own experience with the racial slur from my high school days. In Coach Rhodes class there were only 6 good chairs. We would all race to class to get a good chair. On the day in question, I remember getting to class early to get a chair. I along with the other 5 students that got there early had a "good" chair. One of the students (for the sake of this story we shall call him Jeff) went to the bathroom, and when he got back another student (we shall call him Steve) took his chair. I remember hearing Jeff and Steve going back and forth about the chair. Steve told Jeff that I took his chair. This of course made Jeff mad because Steve and Jeff were white, and I was black.

Jeff walked up to me and said " Get out my chair (N word), I know you got it." I responded as best as I could as an immature sophomore in high school, "I don't have your chair." (For the sake of keeping me a positive figure, I may not recall all of my words correctly... {inserts smile}). I've always heard about my mom's and grandmother's perils with the racial term as they were affected directly. I didn't think I would have to deal with it as a high school student. Moving along, we ended up fighting in the bathroom that day. I came out on top through the fight, but was not allowed to try out for drum major that year. It hurt me more than him in the long run of things. I just couldn't imagine being called a name based upon the color of my skin.

Fast forward to looking at the image of how a student feels about me. I take it as a call for help. If this student only thinks about me as bald headed (bad words), then he must not understand who I am at all. I'm more than not having hair, and I am more than a racial slur used to degrade my ancestors. I take this "letter" as an opportunity to "do too much!" I've got to work even harder to make sure that my students see me more than what was written on that inappropriate piece of paper. I know that his views do not represent the other students that love having me as a principal, but I have to remember the teachings of the bible and leave the 99 to retrieve the 1.

As educators, we have to reach everyone! They may not accept our help, but we have to provide the help. It's our responsibility!!!

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