No – this has nothing to do with that old 80’s high school soap Head Of The Class starring Robin Givens and Kimberly Russell. Somehow, it all seemed so simple then. In light of smartphone distractions stealing adolescent attention from the teacher, I’m focusing on the Head Of The Class as it pertains to pushing for a better teacher-student connection.
I read a nifty piece written by Chance W. Lewis that I found very telling. We have got to do all that we can to help our children get ‘a leg up on mastering academic studies’. Charles has this to say::
n classrooms across the nation, many African-American students will navigate their entire K-12 education experience without seeing a Black teacher. The academic future of these students will most often be placed in the hands of White teachers, particularly White females. An although some do an excellent job, research reveals that in the current standardized test and accountability-focused environment, a large segment of White teachers are failing to make relevant connections with Black students. The result? A disinterest in school, increased disciplinary issues, higher suspension and expulsion rates and greater recommendations for student placement into special education classes.
The real issue here, however is the lack of a teacher-student connection. Some teachers are of the opinion that a great class session is one in which they are able to manage their class through the end of the period. In other words, they figure that success is dealing with behavior as opposed to reaching academic standards. This false idea of success must change if our students are going to reach their true potential and find their place as productive members of our society.
Teaching the Teacher; What You Can Do::
Improving outcomes for our students starts with us. Parents and community leaders are encouraged to
> Contact your local school/school district to encourage administrators to provide culturally relevant diversity training for teachers so that every child has a teacher who can meet his or her educational needs.
> Develop community-wide workshops to assist parents in navigating the educational system.
> Develop innovative after-school and summer programs for Black students.
> Establish community-based partnerships with local schools to provide additional academic experiences for Black students.
Advancing to the head of the class is fast becoming college-entry demanding.
But our kids can’t seize the opportunity if they don’t have a good understanding.
Help your child and be willing to help the teacher too,
It’s up to all 3 of us if the child is going to make it through.
Charles W. Lewis, Ph.D., is a professor and chair of Urban Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is the co-editor/author of seven education books.