Being female means that I automatically don't understand them. For some of them, my being female means that I'm a second class citizen, but that's not all of them.
Teaching English is the biggest problem they have with me though. English is almost always their least favorite subject. It requires two things they hate: reading and writing. Also, because I speak well, they assume that I am not from around here.
These students always assume that I don't like them, which is not true. Often I do not like their behavior, but really...that's not my fault.
This year I have decided to try to get the rednecks on my side. I may not be able to change their mind about English, but maybe I can get them to change their mind about me. I am concocting a plan to accomplish this near impossible feat.
1. I have told them (all the classes actually, but even more so in the "redneck class") that I am not prejudging them based on what I've heard about them from other teachers, and as far as I'm concerned they are angels.
2. I have been giving them a lot of praise when they do something right. I told the one class that they were a smart class, and one boy said that no teacher had ever told them that before.
3. I am going to talk about growing up on a big farm, doing lots of farm chores, and how I still basically live on a farm.
4. I'm going to tell my crazy stories about wild animals getting into my house and my having to shoot things like possums and raccoons.
5. I'm going to put pictures I've taken of our farm (animals, equipment, etc) and my niece and nephews dressed up in John Deere and hanging out on the farm as my screen saver for my school computer. Often, my screen saver is projected on the board, so they will see the pictures.
6. I am focusing on their leader. If I can get him on my side, the rest will follow.
So far this is working. I am already ahead from where I was last year with last year's rednecks. Last year the leader was against me from the beginning and I never got him on my side, this year I think the leader likes me so far (even if he hates school and especially English). Today they were all engaged and participating during class. I am hoping that I can keep it up. Regardless, I'm going to keep trying and hope that I can get them on my side for as long as possible.
Just for fun, I would like to leave you with a few pictures that depict parts of the redneck lifestyle...
|That is not a shirt!|
|Lost his toothbrush...at age 5!|