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 Tammy's Story 
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Hey everyone!
I don't know about you but I have thought about Tammy and her family ever since we watched the clip in class last night. It really bothered me but was an eye-opener to think that her son thought of himself as something he most likely was not. It made me think of students I have had and have now in my class. They put on a persona of who they want you to believe they are and sometimes we don't know anything more than what we see. Wow. Do I always react in the way I need to be reacting? Do I reach them on their level or in terms they "get"?

I can see the importance of "knowing" our students and our faculty as administrators but how can you reach someone if you don't clearly know where they are coming from? It's a lot to think about. Judgement calls happen in a moment sometimes. I think it is so important to see the whole picture of a person but that picture isn't always a complete picture.

After shadowing the administrators at my school, I see how crazy the days can be. I hope that I will keep the image of Tammy's son in my mind so I will take a moment to consider what might be going on "behind the scenes" of the person sitting in the room with me. I hope that I'll carefully select words that are understanding, insightful and encouraging while still holding to the rules and regulations of the institution I represent. Whew... sounds like a difficult task to me!

Have a good Friday everyone!
Tina


Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:21 pm
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Hello everyone!
I'm with Tina, I have definitely had Tammy's family on my mind since class as well. I look at how her son wanted to be something different and it reminds me so much of children in my class that put on a happy face and make others believe their life is perfect because that is safe for them. As administrators it is our duty to know the "real" story of every child and establish a relationship so that children feel they can communicate with us about their homelife situation.

I have also been thinking about NC's sterilization program. It frightens me to know that our government has that kind of control over us as a population. It makes me see those victims as puppets on a string, moving and acting on command. A friend of mine has a special needs child who is so loving and caring of others. Her mother has done a wonderful job raising her and trying to teach her morals and values. That program has made it seem that people who are physically and mentally challenged are like a disease that others can "catch". Instead of enbracing others for their differences, they were shunned and punished. The program was created to get rid of something "bad" and make the world a better place. However, it did the opposite. It took innocent people and scarred them for life. Their lives will never be the same.

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(Ariana) Nicole Benton Hazelwood


Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:25 pm
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I agree. I hate to sound so "dramatic" but it really does remind me of genocide in terms of creating a world with only "specific" genetically engineered individuals. It is very powerful to think about it happening in our past but look at Dafar, it still happens today! I was shocked when I saw that the sterilizations went on until 1978! So hard to believe...

On a personal note: Dr. Turner, I think we're all thinking of you and your family and praying that you all receive grace to help you handle this difficult time. Be safe.


Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:09 pm
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I agree with Tina and Nicole. Tammy's story did stick out to me as well. Her story stuck with me on a different note. I have been thinking of how the school as an institution can be more inviting and personal to students and their families. I feel if Tammy or her son could have been approached differently by the school system, Tammy might have a better job today and her son would actually know the accurate information about obtaining a college degree. This leads me to think about how I personally treat students that I might not see as college material in comparison to the students who I am positive are bound for college after high school.
It made me stop and ask myself, "Do I really spend the same amount energy, enthusiasm, and time with all my students so they can succeed to the best of their potential?"

I also wanted to pose a question to the rest of the class. We talked briefly about parental involvement in a child's education. I have been wrestling with my thoughts and beliefs on this topic. In my opinion, part of being a parent is being involved in every aspect of your child's life, including education. However, as Dr. Turner stated, education/teaching is our job as educators/administrators. It is what we are hired to do. So is there a balance between getting parents involved, even those who parents who don't feel it is their responsibility, and doing our job as educators? Or should we, as future administrators, promote a learning practice that insists on parental responsibilities in their child's education combined with our careers as educators?

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Meghan Wood


Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:50 pm
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That's a struggle I think we all have. I know I do. Meghan, you posed some great questions. It's such a tricky balance of responsibilities between school and home when it comes to the success of our students. I know there are times when parents pick up "our" slack, and we all know there are many when we pick up theirs. I guess in the end, we can teach their children to the best of our ability, but we can't make their lives perfect.
As you said, we have to make schools more inviting and open to the families. We have to "meet them where they are." Just like they have to accept our limitations and get the most of the experience we provide, we have to deal with their realities as well. It's frustrating - and a lot harder than people outside of education could ever imagine. I have to remind myself that I just have to do the best I can with what I've been given. Isn't that what our kids are doing every day (for the most part)?
I heard someone say once, "We are to remember that we are educating the child, not scoring his/her home environment or socioeconomic status." From that point forward, I've tried to think of that every time I assigned a project or gave homework. I try to think of that now, when I organize programs and opportunities at school.
You've got the issue in the front of my mind again. Thanks for reminding me, because I've always struggled with this, too.

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Lora T. Tiano


Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:26 pm
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All so true but here's one to ponder. I have a young man in my class this year who has never been successful in academics or sports but who is always the first one to be blamed when something goes wrong. This young man has been pretty good for us this year although he comes to us with a "record" from years past. Long story short... I called his mom today to tell her how great he has been for us and this was her reply, "So? I told him if he aint' good I aint' gonna sign for his learners permit. He better keep his *** out of trouble." I laughed and told her that if a permit was his motivation then I was good with that! (Gotta make sure she knows we are both in it for him!) I also thanked her for her continued support then said goodbye. Why did I make the call? I thought that a parent like her who had been bombarded with negative comments and phone calls from schools might embrace a positive comment for a change. Was I right? Who knows. Did she give him an "at a boy" when he got home? Who knows. Is he going to fall into his old behaviors after he gets his permit? Who knows. Will I treat him any differently? No. I think that our jobs, the school as a whole no matter our roles at the time, are to encourage, lift up, call em' on it when they mess up and let them know that we expect better from them. We don't expect it because it is a school "policy" but because it should be their own personal policy. Will all kids adopt that policy? Probably not but don't ya' think that all people should value themselves enough to expect the best from themselves? Yea, probably so. Will they all get that message? Nah... probably not. Not every household has the same set of values or expectations but I still think that we should set the bar high and consistantly expect great things and hopefully make the child know that they can achieve great things. Should we ask them to change their culture or their family's beliefs? No, we aren't the ones who get to decide what should be the "right" thing to do in all the homes of our students. I do believe the following though: Live the example. Love the child. Support the effort and encourage them to grow. Will we reach them all? Who knows but I think we all try to. How do we lift that fog that is "every one does it this way..." or "I'd a done this...." It is such a hard one to call but in the end... we only have them five days a week for 7 hours a day. I just hope that's enough to help one child see that they matter and that they should expect great things from themselves because someone sees value in them, no matter what goes on at home. Tell me? Is there a perfect person out there somewhere I can shadow? :) I have SO much to learn! Do we ever STOP second guessing ourselves?


Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:04 pm
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And Lora, I'm so glad that we have someone coming from your point of view. As a teacher, I am struggling with my "frame of mind" a LOT so far. I need to hear things from a point of view that is already "set" in administration. I really am thankful that we have folks in class who already "walk the walk". We can learn from your experiences. I keep wondering... "When will I start thinking like an administrator and NOT a teacher?"
:?


Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:07 pm
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I'm a little late on responding ladies but Tammy's story is an attention grabber, I agree.

I have been continuously thinking about parental involvement as Meghan has. I do realize that we are, sometimes, the only involved, engaged adult some children see during the course of their day. While that is tragic and heartbreaking, someone else made the judgement call to accept responsibility for that child, even if they choose not to be physically or emotionally present parents. I think too many times we as Americans are not willing to accept responsibility; that includes parents, and yes, sometimes students, and even teachers and administrators. Part of my viewpoint may be swayed by the fact that both of my parents were police officers, so accepting reponsibility for my actions was demanded in my house...and shouldn't it be?

While instructing and supporting are both involved with what we do each day as teachers and even as administrators, at what point do we "cut the cord" and allow other adults and even students to accept responsibility for their actions, or as it may be, inaction?

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Misti Holloway


Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:16 pm
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Misit, you are right. Just today I had a young hispanic student tell me something that was such an eye opener. We had an in-school workshop with around 8 substitutes on the 8th grade hall for the first half of the day. Of course the kids were a little crazy and several were sent to the office for being difficult with our subs. Anyway, my little Miss Sophie said that it was a shame the way kids act here. She said that in Mexico, if a student talked to a teacher the way kids do in America that they would be sent home and the parents would have to go through all kinds of appeals trying to get their kid back in school! She said that in Mexico going to school is a privilege not a right and that because of that kids know to take on the work and the responsibilities themselves more than they do here. She also said that parents are very involved because they value an education. Funny huh? My "born in Mexico" student knows the value of an education but several of her classmates and their families either do not or simply don't care. By the way.... she is WONDERFUL to have in class. If I had an entire class of Sophies I would be in heaven! :D


Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:23 pm
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Tina Bullington wrote:
I agree. I hate to sound so "dramatic" but it really does remind me of genocide in terms of creating a world with only "specific" genetically engineered individuals. It is very powerful to think about it happening in our past but look at Dafar, it still happens today! I was shocked when I saw that the sterilizations went on until 1978! So hard to believe...

On a personal note: Dr. Turner, I think we're all thinking of you and your family and praying that you all receive grace to help you handle this difficult time. Be safe.


Hi you all - I am really writing this for everyone in this thread, but Tina's comment reminded me I hadn't posted a link to that amazing story in the Winston-Salem Journal about the NC victims of eugenics. Here is the link. (I have also posted it to our syllabus, with the Gould and Lemann links.)

http://againsttheirwill.journalnow.com/

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Gayle Turner


Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:22 pm
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Meghan Wood wrote:
...I also wanted to pose a question to the rest of the class. We talked briefly about parental involvement in a child's education. I have been wrestling with my thoughts and beliefs on this topic. In my opinion, part of being a parent is being involved in every aspect of your child's life, including education. However, as Dr. Turner stated, education/teaching is our job as educators/administrators. It is what we are hired to do. So is there a balance between getting parents involved, even those who parents who don't feel it is their responsibility, and doing our job as educators? Or should we, as future administrators, promote a learning practice that insists on parental responsibilities in their child's education combined with our careers as educators?


Meghan, I think what you left out is that we need to consider the parent who literally CANNOT help their child with school. Think of work schedules. Think of mental illness. Think of abusive relationships in the home that incapacitate a parent. Think of drug and alcohol addiction. In other words, it isn't just poverty and personal lack of education that can render a parent incapable of helping their child.

All of these circumstances are not the fault of the child. The parent can't be there for the child. The parent is probably just barely keeping the child alive. The parent probably imagined a different sort of life. So whose job is it to teach the child?

My nine year old had an assignment that assumed she not only knew what a glossary and index were, but that she could actually create both. She was not taught what they are in school, nor was she taught how to make them. I have a Ph.D., which makes me pretty good at this stuff. However, my own high school educated, devoted mother would not have been able to help me with this when I was in third grade.

I hope this is an extreme example, but fear it may not be.

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Gayle Turner


Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:30 pm
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