Thursday, February 25, 2010

I wonder where some of my students will end up

I like to think that what I'm a part of is doing some good, but I'm starting to wonder if the current system is railroading some students into career paths that may or may not pan out. What I mean is this. When I go to trainings and staffings and to hear these so-called "experts" talk about the "right" way to teach minority students they seem to always talk about the arts. Now before any of my readers get all upset and start causing a riot, I was a part of the band and have the utmost respect and appreciation for the arts, but what bothers me is the following. Why are black and Hispanic students supposed to be taught using "art"? This is becoming a concern for me. I've been told that working with minority populations I should use art, music, raps, poems, stories, etc in order to help them learn. I think that's a great alternative when the basics have been covered, but how is this helping a student get ready for college or even the work place?

How many students aspire to be art teachers, music teachers, or even musicians? Not many. They think about being rich, having a house, something nice to ride in. Who was the last living artist that was able to say they were living that dream? How many musicians actually make it? Not that many, but that's the life they push these kids towards. They tell us "science and math isn't there thing." or "just let them enjoy acting in the school play." I'm wondering why are we not encouraging these students to do well in all subjects and allow their arts to be compliments to their other studies? I'm not trying to say that the school system is really pushing these kids to fail, but I think soo much more can be done to enhance their education. The current system seems to see young Hispanics and blacks as merely artist, actors, musicians all while allowing them to fall through the cracks and not teaching them to really play the game of life that they will be faced with. Are all Hispanics graffiti aritist? Can all blacks sing and dance? I don't think so. So why are those the skills that are pushed on these students? Why are they not categorized in this way: "Well George Washington Carver was a wonderful scientist, I think little Chris could be one also." or "Justice Sotomayor made it to the supreme court, maybe Andrea could get there one day too." Why aren't these conversations the norm? They should be. The prevailing thought shouldn't be that these students are artistically inclined so let's teach them all that way. It gets a little irritating to see.

If you're a student reading this, do your best in everything you do. You can be a great artist, actor, musician as well as a great historian, scientist or mathematician. Don't let anyone tell you the only talent you have is such and such. For any bold administrators that dare to read something like this. Take a look at your own school and see if you are doing this on your campus. Finally for any teacher that reads this. Be sure to encourage your kids to continue to learn across curricula and DO NOT let a child feel that they can only be one thing or the other. It's our job to show these kids that the world is theirs and they must find ways to seize every opportunity that they have.

I'm out folks. I hope someone can take this and it lights a spark that can help get this country and our students going in a positive direction. Leave comments and take care.
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