The N Word

This is from last year when I taught Culinary Arts.
My 8th Graders were rambunctious. One of my students was throwing things and running around the room and refusing to sit down. I got face to face with them.
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C: Get out of my face nigga!
Mr. C: Sit down.
C: Nigga! Nigga! Nigga!
Mr. C: Are you seriously calling me that right now?
C: Yeah nigga. This is some bullshit nigga!
Mr. C: Is it?
C: Yeah.
Mr. C: Why would you call me that? I don’t like that word, and I’m white.
C: (stare)
Mr. C: Do you know what that word means?
C: It means you an ignorant black person.
Mr. C: So why would you call me that?
C: (Silence)
Mr. C: That word is derogatory and demeaning.
C: I don’t know what those words mean.
Mr. C: They mean being disrespectful.
C looks away.
Mr. C: Look at me.
Do you respect me?
C: Yeah.
Mr. C: Then sit down.
C sits down.
———————-

This was actually a breakthrough. When I first started teaching at this school, I had to earn my respect from my students. It was a proving ground. There was a period of time where my students were pushing the boundaries. These students don’t like change, so they didn’t like me at first. Some students wanted to make my life hell thinking that I would quit. They wanted their old teacher back. But after a while, the students came around. I earned their respect and a right to stay at this school.

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Real Respect

This is from the archives last year when I taught Culinary Arts and had 8th graders. It didn’t happen very often but I would lay the law down when I felt I needed to.

—————
M: Give me my pencil so I can do my work.
Mr. C: Excuse me? I just sharpened this pencil for you and you said give it to me?
M: (blank stare)
Mr. C: All of you need to learn some respect. You talk to me like I’m not a teacher or something.
(silence)
Mr. C: I am, and you don’t talk to me like that.
D: I ain’t never cursed you.
L: I respect you.
(Both students give me handshakes.)
M: I don’t even respect my daddy.
Mr. C: Well you’re going to respect me.
—————-

I didn’t understand this at the time, but I understand now why they didn’t have respect for adults. The adults and parents in their lives weren’t around enough to gain any respect from them.


Respect

I reached a breaking point with the lack of respect from my 8th graders:
——————–
M: Give me my pencil so I can do my work.
Mr. C: Excuse me? I just sharpened this pencil for you and you say give it to me?
All of you need to learn some respect.
You talk to me like I’m not a teacher or something.
I am, and you don’t talk to me like that.
D: I ain’t never cursed you.
L: I respect you.
(Both students  give me handshakes.)
M: I don’t even respect my daddy.
Mr. C: Well you’re going to respect me.
—————


Respect

1st block with my Seniors:

One of the teachers was absent this morning so I absorbed their class, which included 3 of my seniors from last semester that I don’t have this semester. While in the middle of cooking omelets, some students were around my desk being mischievous.
—————–
Mr. C: J get out of my chair, and S quit opening my drawers!
M: I ain’t gonna lie, you is one of our favorite teachers Mr. C. We wouldn’t steal from you.
Mr. C: I appreciate that M.
(fist bump)

—————-

Respect.