Mind the Gap

“If you get to know your learners… you can get them to walk on water, you can get them to do anything.”

Today I spent my afternoon listening to a program on the radio called Mind the Gap: Why Good schools are failing Black Students.  This was my first time listening to this program. It is a documentary by Nancy Solomon who is a profound journalist.

While listening quite a few things ran through my head.  For example, I thought about my upbringing in the Bronx, my childhood experience  in  both the public school and the private school, the way I always felt in school and my personal thoughts I had about teachers and even college professors. Just like love is strong and know no boundaries, you can always feel hate and it hurts really bad when the one who you are suppose to look up to and learn from is not treating you like the others.

I often try to show my students  that regardless of what they do or what happens, I still love them and I want them to succeed. I know how school can be. I understand favoritism and how it can destroy a child on either side of the spectrum.

Miss Solomon’s study takes place in a high school in a suburb in New Jersey. The students seem to be in two worlds, especially the African-American students. They can choose whether to participate in school and get good grades or give over to the ‘thug’ life. One of her main comments was that their decisions to go either way doesn’t start when they get to high school but rather it starts in kindergarten. And this is something I truly believe. It all goes back to how you are treated,  especially students who are easily influenced. It may be hard for them to ever get on or back on the right track. So when you are a teacher, the child’s future is definitely in your hands.

This is why I love working at the library. I am not literally in a classroom; therefore, I am free to show all of my students that I favor them. It is a good amount of boys and girls for all of us to get along and really understand each other. Of course there are days when everyone feels like fighting but in the end, we can all manage. I know that all my students love me back. When ever they get a chance to work with me alone, it’s like a prayer answered for them. When they don’t have any homework and we all can play a game or read a book together, its like a prayer answered for both of us! We have fun regardless. And we all learn. Since I don’t always come across as a ‘teacher’ they are able to talk to me about anything.

Because of how other teachers treated me when I was younger, I know why I love children today. I learned from their (my teachers) mistakes and learned not to take their love and power of teaching for granted. What I learned from them I now use or don’t use.

Yes, indeed, when you learn, you do teach.

check out Miss Solomon at http://nancycsolomon.com/mindthegap/

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