Robert Jackson is a motivational speaker, mentor, and educator. His first ambition was to be a football player, but things did not pan out. So, he went into teaching. His life story is rough. He faced bullying, mugging, molestation, and physical abuse. As a student the school system was against him and anyone else who was African American. Most of the teachers where Caucasian as were the students. His school years were full of torment as Caucasian students would bully him and then he would get blamed.
Robert Jackson wants to teach educator a new way to reach out to Latinx and African American students. First off, many students are dealing with issues at home which could mean physical and sexual abuse, friends getting shot and drug usage in the home. Educators need to understand their student’s background. There are 6 guideline an educational professional must use to reach out to students.
The first concept is love; the students must know that you care. The second concept is trust. The students must trust the educator and the educator must give the student benefit of doubt. The third concept is fairness. Students must be treated in the same manner and their can be no favoritism. The next concept is support. Teachers must encourage their students and honor the students’ choices and to be able to listen without judging. The next concept is accountability. Educators must accept responsibility for there actions and attitudes and expect the students to do the same. Both students and educators must admit when they have made mistakes. Finally, there is safety. Students must feel safe, and teachers should not manipulate and intimidate their students. Physical space should always be respected.
Educators must over come biases against their students. At times teachers will judge a student based on race, clothing, and background. There are ways to overcome these implicit biases and for a teacher to bridge the gap with their students. A teacher must understand the student’s background. The student’s home life travels with them. Often, they are in pain, and they will mask their pain by misbehaving and joking. They cover it up. Students can be very smart but being too much of a schoolboy can cause humiliation amongst their peers so they will cover it up. Educators need to have one to one discussion with the students to find out what is going on and students need someone who will listen to them. As teachers we need to resist the urge to stereotype our students based on biased media and perceptions we were taught growing up.
The classroom set up is super important in making students feel safe. Setting up a daily routine provide structure for the students which lets them know what to expect and helps them feel safe. Color schemes are super important to motivate students. Teachers must also put in a positive message and be mindful of how negative images may be perceived.
In terms of fighting bias and racism teachers must lead by example. If we hear racist comments, we have to speak out and correct it. Bias is present in education as in other fields. Our students have different backgrounds then we do. Our biases might impact how we educate them.
Being an educator can tough. It offers up a lesson In humility and one must be open in order to be a caring teacher. Education is tough but rewarding.