Thursday, February 23, 2012

Others Don't

I took a multicultural education class this semester.
This poem is the result of a bit of reflection on the concept that many underachieving students struggle for various reasons other than a disinterest in school or a lower IQ.
Bullying... language barriers... the teachers not taking the time to treat the students like important individuals... there are many factors.
Why can't more people see that? Why are some administrators and teachers so quick to judge and punish students who are struggling in school? Why do they assume that it's all a lack of intrinsic motivation? Why do they assume that a black student is more likely to cause trouble? [By the way, racial issues in the classroom intrigue me. You can expect another post on that sometime in the future. Soon. It seems a little fitting, since this is Black History Month.]

This is written from the point of view of underachieving or troubled students and is addressed to teachers. These pleas are never vocalized; they are internal cries. We as teachers have to figure out how to hear the silent pleadings of these students.

Others Don't
A plea from student to teacher

Just one face among thousands, I know
But I'm unique. Give me a chance.
Please be the first teacher to help
And do what others don't.

You have a great opportunity
To make a change in students' lives
But I learn in different ways, so
Please teach how others don't.

A droopy eye and a slouching back;
Although I truly want to learn
Things are difficult back at home -
Understand things others don't.

Race is not something that's black or white,
Although some perceive it that way.
Look at what's underneath the skin
And see what others don't.

An unkind word hisses from cruel lips;
I quietly cope on my own.
But who will stop this verbal jest?
Please hear what others don't.

Some teachers seem bored, distant, and cold
They just want to teach and then leave.
I need a hand to guide me through -
Give time when others don't.

Does school have a point if I don't learn?
I don’t understand. I’ll just quit!
But I might stay... if you take time
To care when others don't.

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