One of our seventh graders did some awesome work in the community, and someone in administration mentioned offhand that it’s nice to not have the community angry at us… for once.
It’s easy and common for teachers to feel anger or frustration toward the communities we work in. Our jobs are hard and these kids are far behind, so it’s because their parents don’t read to them. It’s because they didn’t go to pre-school. It’s because no one cares about them. It’s because their families aren’t stable. It’s because they’re allowed to wander the streets at night and join gangs. It’s because they don’t speak English. It’s because the parents never got an education themselves.
I’ve heard about it before on a larger policy scale, but I haven’t stopped to think much about the communities blaming us right back. They trust us with their children and we don’t even teach them how to add or decode words. We let the kids get hit with brass knuckles or get bullied relentlessly or get pantsed in the classroom. They aren’t prepared to speak English or survive high school or stay out of trouble. The communities are struggling to escape poverty while the local schools are just churning out children without the skills necessary to do so. That’s an enormous amount of damage that we are doing on a community level. Not just failing the kids, but also failing their parents, their neighbors, and their future children. No wonder they’re angry at us.