Real Talk for Teachers: Be Authentic, Teach Life Skills, Don’t Be Corny

(A guest post from Kareem Garcia, an Oakland public school student and Energy Convertor)

“During those long years in the Oakland Public Schools, I did not have one teacher who taught me anything relevant to my own life or experience.”-Huey Newton 1973 -Revolutionary Suicide

At school, I want to learn the things that will help me later on in life. I currently feel like some of the things that teachers teach me don’t matter if I am honest. The curriculum doesn’t grab me at all. It doesn’t feel relevant. I also feel like hardly any teachers ask me what I want to do after I graduate. To help the educators that I know will be reading our blog, below are a few things I would love to learn. It is short and to the point.

In school, I want to learn how to type up a resume to apply for a job. I don’t want to be stuck at my parents’ house just chilling. Money is vital so that means learning how to make it would be quite valuable to me.

I want to learn how to take college classes so when I get to college; I can easily adjust to the new culture. I always hear just how different college is from high school, so if that is the case, then why am I not being prepared to adapt? I hear all about how poorly Black males do in college so shouldn’t “Thriving in College” be a priority for folks like me?

I want classes to be more fun and exciting. Let’s be honest, there are a lot of corny teachers out there. Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok to be corny, but you can’t be corny and boring. I hear teachers complain about students listening to rappers and athletes, well, a huge part of that is because they don’t come off as corny and boring. I’m not a teacher, so I don’t have a full solution, but I do know one thing. The teachers I like are authentic. I feel like I know them and I can see them as human. The teachers I can’t stand all feel like they’re trying to hide something. Hopefully, that’s helpful.

Personally, I like to work with my hands. I want to learn how to do construction and see how that can be connected to becoming an engineer. I’ve heard stories where there used to be classes that taught this in high school, well, they don’t have those now. I also don’t want to be made to feel that the thing I want to do for a living is looked down on. If you have other thoughts and can introduce me to something new, great! But if I tell you what I like, shutting it down probably shouldn’t be your first response.

So, there are a few of my thoughts. I would love to hear back from teachers and principals about my list. I feel like I’ve said these things before, but no one listened. I hope this time it’s different.

(the Huey Newton quote was added by the editor not Kareem)

What do you think?

More Comments