Friday, July 25, 2014

Yo' Momma

Until I became a teacher, I never really understood how the words Yo' Momma or My Momma said starting a sentence would give me a headache. In High School, I had guy friends that would tell Yo' Momma jokes to each other. I heard jokes like Yo' Momma's so fat that when she walks in front of the TV I miss 3 episodes or Yo' Momma's so fat that she left the house in high heels and came back wearing flip flops. We might giggle when we hear and see some momma jokes but in truth, they are really hurtful.

 I don't remember anybody saying any jokes insulting my momma but I know I probably would be upset over a momma joke too!

My first year of teaching I tried....and explain the logic to a six year old that this person does not even KNOW your momma so try and not worry too much about what they are saying. We talked about kind words and treating others with respect but I never realized how their momma's presence would ALWAYS be in the classroom with them....and ALL of their mommas are there regardless of race.

I also quickly learned that my little ones were often skeptical of what I told them to do because of what their momma said. The momma card trumped ANYTHING I had to say!

 I then read Ruby Payne's book A Framework for Understanding Poverty. I was also blessed to see her present. WOW!

Working at a Title 1 school where usually ALL of my students are already identified as at-risk coming into my 1st grade classroom this book is an amazing tool and guide for understanding.

This video is also awesome for helping understand the difference between home and school rules that our kiddos and parents often struggle with....and also the hidden rules.

Even before seeing this video, this is something I tried after attending my workshop with Ruby Payne. Many of our kiddos come into our classroom carrying with them a completely different set of rules. We expect them to start following "our" set of rules right away.

We often aren't as patient helping these students adjust to this new set of rules as we might be when they are struggling with a new concept academically. We also don't want to make a mistake by telling our kiddos that their set of home rules are wrong either....even if we disagree.

Part of our job will be helping them to see that those rules are not ones you can usually follow at school or at work. I always talk to my kiddos about how my principal makes me do things I don't want to or that there might be a time I get mad over something that happened with another teacher. I ask the kiddos if it would be okay for me to drop to the ground and throw a fit or run next door and hit Mrs. Carla??!!!??? I have even acted really mad and started walking around the room kicking things and saying "My momma said if anyone makes me mad I should just hit them!!! I'm going to go next door and HIT Mrs. Carla!!!"

The kiddos always laugh and think this is funny...and I have to bit my lip to keep from laughing at the look on their faces sometimes. :)

I talk to my kiddos about the difference between home rules and school rules. We talk about my job as The Safe Keeper and how it is their job to help me keep everyone safe. We talk about other ways to handle problems here at school such as walking away, going to a spot to calm down, standing up for yourself while staying calm and in control, or going to get an adult to help you solve the problem. We brainstorm other strategies too. We try and learn ways to be problem solvers while still helping them know that they can save face because at school they are just following a different set of rules. 

By showing them that we are going to help them learn how to be successful following school rules, we are going to be showing them respect and how much we care. As we handle different situations and share the self talk in our heads, we will be modeling to them other ways to handle problems and the problem solving we go through, By doing this, we will be the champions by their side and the mirrors that reflect kindness and patience to them and others.

One day someone might say Yo' Momma must be pretty amazing to have raised a child like you!

Our kiddos are coming to use holding on to rocks that we might see as burdens or stumbling blocks. If we stand by them as they learn and pave the way with respect and love, those rocks can be stepping stones bridging the way from heart to heart.

From My Heart to Yours,

12 heart notes:

Jessica Travis said...

I also had the privilege of hearing Ruby Payne speak 2 years ago.... very much changed how I view my students!
I read the book the summer before I saw her and then seeing her in person was just amazing!
Thank you for sharing!


Katie said...

Heather! I loved that video. I also work at a very high poverty school and deal with these issues often. I have Ruby Payne's book but have not had the chance to read it. You just inspired me to read it before school starts back up. Thanks!


Dirty Hands & Lesson Plans

Missy Belle said...

Excellent post Heather... I am big believer in Ruby Payne's ideas. I work in a school that is high poverty and see these things everyday. It hurts my heart to think about what some of my students see/hear/feel at home and why they can't pay attention and learn in school. Thanks for sharing serious, heartfelt thoughts!
Dirt Road Teacher

Jessica said...

Thanks for that post! So motivating and packed with great reminders as we gear up for the new school year.

Little In Betweens
(formerly Teach on a Limb)

Stacia Seagroves - Stacia's Scoop said...

I absolutely loved A Framework of Understanding Poverty! I would love to see her present one day, I bet it was amazing! Thanks for the motivation!

Mrs. Jackson said...

Another good book is Teaching with Poverty in Mind by Eric Jensen. It is something that we need to be aware of and make changes to accommodate our students
Jackson In The Middle

Tanya said...

Thank you for a great post! I also teach in an inner city school with high poverty. I have often heard the "My Momma said" phrase. Great post!
Tanya ☺

Melissa said...

This is such a great post! At least half of the group of students I'll teach in August will likely be identified as at-risk for one reason or another and it drives me bananas when I hear the list of excuses for why schools can't work with "those" students. I love the way you took a positive spin on this issue and the way you differentiate between home and school rules- I will definitely be having that conversation in the fall! (:


Meredith said...

Heather, I love how inspiring your blog is. I also wanted to say thanks for stoping by my new blog Teaching with a Twist. They did reprint my planner and I do love the new Younique mascara. I'm you're newest follower! Thanks again

Teaching with a Twist

Mrs. Landry said...

Thank you so much for this post! The video was really good too. This was a great reminder to us all on how to, not only service our kiddos and take care of them, but also build that home school connection. You are wonderful!

Mrs. Landry's Land of Learning

Kate said...

Hi Heather!
I love how you laid this post out! I too try to teach the different between home rules and school rules. Thanks to some training with Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility with integrating their 4Rs program, I am more conscious about keeping the distinctions in mind. However, the resources you posted here also appear to be beneficial and I will be sure to look up both books mentioned by you and other comment-posters. Thanks for another insightful, thought-provoking post.
Windows Into My Classroom

Jimmy Slater said...

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