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,