LouAnne Johnson’s My Posse Don’t Do Homework is an excellent book in the way that it describes the looked over and ignored kids of schools around the nation. My Posse Don’t Do Homework shows us how important it is to nurture and care for students and tell each and everyone of those students how important they are and they, too, can make a difference. When Ms. Johnson had the class on the first day of school, the students were all prepared to “work” their way through yet another substitute or permanent teacher. According to the book My Posse Don’t Do Homework, when Ms. Johnson had asked about Miss Shepard, the group of student’s former teacher, one girl replied that she “had been ‘psyched out’” (19). “Miss Shepard had thrown down her book and rushed out of the classroom in tears the previous Friday. The kids weren’t surprised that she hadn’t returned. They were obviously proud of their handiwork...” (19). Moments later a dictionary was flung at her head and she then proceeded to leave the classroom. After the dictionary incident she spoke with a colleague, Hal Gray. After a brief discussion with him, she went back to the class where she was inspired by her former drill instructor, Petty Officer Hawk’s, presence and confronted the student who threw the dictionary at her. After getting in the boy’s face, he gave into her demand of sitting down. After introducing herself and telling them about her Marine and Navy background, she gained the advantage and some of their respect from fear that she could kill them with her bare hands. The book is not suggesting that every teacher that has a difficult group of students should let them think that he or she, meaning the teacher, is going to violent if they do not cooperate in class. However, with this group of kids Ms. Johnson thought that it would be most effective to intimidate her new students. After gaining his or her respect, she started to care about each student. She went above and beyond what is to be expected from the average teacher. She truly cared about each of students and did her best to get to know each of them on a personal basis. She even proves in her book, My Posse Don’t Do Homework, that this is an effective way of teaching these students who have been told that they are not important and that they would not achieve to be much. Most of the students in her classes were passing with average and above average grades. The same students were doing below average or failing other classes that were instructed by teachers who did not put much to any effort in showing these students any affection. James A. Banks states in his book An Introduction to Multicultural Education: “I think we have to create a caring community in the classroom. We have to create what psychologists call a superordinate group in the classroom” (93). He goes on later discusses and somewhat defines a super ordinate groups. Banks states, “Allport’s theory of group suggests ways to create a sense of community. In order to create a sense of community, we first need to create a group within the group not cooperation. Second, we need to create equal-status situations for the groups” (94). It is imperative that we teach our students in a fair and caring way. Teachers have to be sure that he or she is doing everything in their power to help their students achieve their goals. Isn’t that the purpose of teaching, to help assist the students and do almost anything within their power to see that their student is learning? One option to helping students better themselves and give more of the much-needed affection is to reduce class size. Johnson states in the introduction to her book, “When classes are small enough to allow individual student-teacher interaction, a minor miracle occurs: Teachers teach and students learn” (2). When teachers gain a positive rapport with their students because of smaller class sizes, fewer students have a chance to fall through the cracks. LouAnne Johnson stated, “The Junior Advanis and Attiba Macks break my heart, but for every student who slips through the cracks, a dozen--or two dozen--step over the cracks and walk out of high school with a diploma in one hand and a dream in another. It’s these kids--the ones you don’t read about in the newspapers because good news doesn’t sell--who keep me coming back every year to my lopsided wooden desk, my crumbling bulletin boards, my outdated text books, and my handful of dreams” (106). This quote, in my mind, say how important it is for teachers to care about what happens to their students and how having a passion for teaching can positively affect the lives of the students that they encounter. Not only does it make going to work each day that little more exciting, but it also helps a student set and achieve their goals, which is the purpose for teaching. Bibliography Works Cited Banks, James A. Introduction to Multicultural Education. Second edition. Allyn and Bacon: Boston. 1999. Johnson, LouAnne. My Posse Don’t Do Homework. St. Martin’s Press: New York. 1992 Word Count: 841
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