Essay, Research Paper: My Posse Don't Do Homework

Book Reports

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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 contact 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.

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

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