This “tool” is disproportionately used on children of color because people find it easier to kick out our children rather than talk to them, seek to understand them, and help them improve. It’s lazy discipline.
Suspension and kicking kids out of class isn’t classroom management. It’s giving up. Trust me, the kids see it that way too. That’s why after they get back, they don’t change their behavior, at least not permanently. They see that, through your actions, you have stopped caring about them.
As I write this, I’m also speaking to myself. I’m guilty of this. I’ve kicked kids out. It made my life easier for a day or three. My class, at least the kids that were still in there, learned better without a few of my “disruptive elements.” Those “disruptive elements” were predominantly black children. Those “disruptive elements” continued to act out and get suspended in other classes as my fellow teachers began making the same decisions I did. Those “disruptive elements” have been in and out of trouble with the law and some have dropped out.
Those “disruptive elements” are people. They are kids.
Until I stopped thinking of them as problems for me, I was unable to reach them. Once I found out why they acted the way they did and what they were interested in learning, WE were not able to be successful.
Until I realized what was better for me, as the adult, was bad for them, as the kid, my classes were always tense even when all the kids were “well behaved.” The sad thing is, what I thought was better for me was actually making everything worse.
Having a kid temporarily work in the corner or outside the door is better than banishing them from school for days at a time.
Just because there’s a “tool” in the box doesn’t mean it should be there forever or that it should be used. We also used to think that teachers and principals smacking kids around when they got out of line was an important tool for classroom management. Should we start beating kids in school again?
No. That’s nonsense. Use your words.
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Dallas ISD Kindergarten Student Suspension Must End
Dallas ISD News and Politics Rundown - May Week 1