How can you get from the don’t try to the free wheeling engaged student? Don’t paint bright red targets on their backs! The students aren’t your marketing ads dispersed through the neighborhood. The students exist not to validate your program but to move on to their potential.
Before attempting to change a student what are the odds you know what you are doing? If the student does this thing you want is he risking his life? Do you control the the environment such that he gets what you say for doing what you say? Do you understand color, culture, and chaos? The world is not as smooth operating for your students as it appears to be for you. There will be clashes between cultures and color for the student. No one enjoys being a punching bag or the outsider.
Your student needs approaches that work in their environments. In Afghanistan clearing minefields is a helpful skill but doesn’t have long term benefits. Urban America needs urban skills. How to get to school with your lunch money intact. How to get the lunch money to take to school? Fear is the motivator in urban America. Join the gang or get killed! The neighborhood will turn on you if you act like you aren’t part of it. The student needs coping skills to live where he is at. As well as skills to live where he wants to get to.
The lesson must apply to both environments. It has to work! You need to develop foster students for your classroom. The foster students can take on the role of actual student problems without being the actual student. Students need privacy and respect. Teachers need to be able to accept respect and deal with disrespect. The learning approach should be like that of the intelligence organizations. Recruit, train, equip and insert agents into the environment you wish to know and control.
Know your adversary and teach how to exploit his weaknesses. Learn how to fit in with your adversary in non-threatening ways. Learn overt behavior that promotes your adversary’s susceptibility to covert actions. Learn how to openly conduct operations below the threshold of an adversary’s detection. Learn to use innocent objects to promote your agenda and hide your mission objectives. Capture is not a viable option!
But your students aren’t at war you claim. Look again more closely. The primary purpose of war is to win. If you win then you may impose your will on a defeated enemy. If you can’t tell someone what to do. You might as well pick up your marbles and go home! Most of us want to win.
You are teaching your student skills. I hope these skills being taught aren’t time wasters. Like the semantic skills of buggy whip manufacturers with regard to locality. Dance class could be martial arts training in plain view. Drama class could be assimilation and introduction to target country culture. People do want to learn useful skills.
Recognize that mainstream America is just a culture not interested in others. Some of us (actually large numbers of us) live in your culture as well as our own culture which is not the same as the mainstream culture. Yes, it would be easier to just live in one culture. But I am not willing to give up family and roots to just live in yours. My culture is more welcoming to me.
As a teacher you should be aware of the society in which you function. Our position in a society were determined by race, parents, economic means, power, and social mobility. You may call it the American way or the way or the world. It’s not that we can’t change our position. It’s just so darn hard!
Yep, teachers have the burden for selecting what to teach, how to teach it, who to teach, and when to stop! Students get to live with the consequences of their choices. So teachers keep it real! What you learn may be what you need to teach.
Ronald E. Newton retired IBM Networking Consultant
25+ years developing online business networks, promoting and establishing online classes for the GED and SAT preparation.
Resides: Greensboro, NC
Education: BS CNE CCNA MCP
You may contact me at my website.