The Power of The Tongue In Education
by William Jackson
Edward Waters College – Educational Technology
As an educator the intelligence of Black students is evident,
Black students can be successful in any educational
environment (public, private, charter, parochial, etc.). Provided
the parental support and encouragement that students needs
and have high expectations for achievement.
One of the challenges in Black communities: (I reference Blacks
because I’m Black and teach / taught in Black communities). The
challenge(s) is getting not just parental involvement, but
consistency and both mothers and fathers involved. Successful
cooperation between teachers and parents starts on day one
and should begin by the teacher extending the hand of friendship
Teachers are the activists to motivate and encourage parents on
the benefits of volunteering, mentoring and consistently staying
engaged and active. Fathers are needed to provide emotional
support that builds confidence and self-esteem within their
Unfortunately across this nation the relationship between
parents and schools can be unstable and disconnected either
culture and generation. Parents are the first educators,
and teachers are the first ambassadors that serve to set the
level of engagement. Black parents must be afforded respect,
dignity and perceived to have a high level of intelligence not
because of status of degrees, but because they want their
children to be better than them.
Understanding socio-economic challenges, cultural lines of
communication and interaction teachers can turn parents into
educational advocates. Success in this collaborative effort
teachers need professional development to educate and ward
off perceptions of the “ghetto” mentalities , language
differences, cultural nuances. Administrators both Black and
white should not engage verbally or mentally that their parents
are “ghetto” this degrades the advocacy of educational equality
and equal access to resources and creates a racists atmosphere
that poisons the school and infects staff and personnel.
Administration sets the tone of their self indulged perceptions
of parents and students which are the clients we as
educators are working to educate.
Administrators both Black and white cannot afford to treat or
create the perception their parents are of a lower class and have
lower class children. The results will be administrators and teachers
treating children as lower level students with limited abilities to
be educated and limited intellectualism. This creates lower
expectations for success for students that need higher expectations
from an adult because they may not receive this from home.
I have always set my expectations high whether teaching Physical
Education or Engineering / Technology.. I establish from day one
from my kindergarten to my fifth graders what my expectations
are for their success. This must continuously be reinforced and
guided as well. When you show consistency in your expectations
the students rise to them and even share this with their parents
and guardians. Keeping in mind that no parent wants their child
or children to fail even if they (parents) lack the educational
levels to have graduated high school or college. Generally parents
want their children to do better than them.
Teachers should prepare themselves for the diversity of their class
rooms and have available a list of positive and encouraging
words. If administrators and teachers allow negativity and stereo-
types to enter into their minds this will fester and grow,
ultimately contaminating their behaviors and language to
the children. Teachers need to understand they may be the only
person to share positive words with their students. I reflect as
a parent and a teacher how Malcolm X must have felt when his
teacher told him that he would never be a lawyer,
telling Malcolm X that nig…. aren’t lawyers, what if that teacher
had encouraged and mentored Malcolm X instead of crushing his
hopes and dreams?
Teachers have the power to build and create hopes, dreams
and the excitement for a future with their words and actions.
Teachers can also destroy self-confidence, self-respect and
predestination for children with words. Sometime teachers
forget that we build the world around us from our statements,
phrases, labeling, expectations, assumptions, judgments and
from out own self-doubts and our stereotypes.
Teachers be the change you want to see in the world.
Just make sure it is a world of peace, unity, intellectualism,
hope, equality and respect.
We have the power to change the world and are held