My Posse Don’t Do HomeworkJohnson’s My Posse Don’t Do Homework is an excellent book in the way that itdescribes the looked over and ignored kids of schools around the nation. MyPosse Don’t Do Homework shows us how important it is to nurture and care forstudents and tell each and everyone of those students how important they are andthey, too, can make a difference. When Ms. Johnson had the class on the firstday of school, the students were all prepared to “work” their way throughyet another substitute or permanent teacher.
According to the book My PosseDon’t Do Homework, when Ms. Johnson had asked about Miss Shepard, the group ofstudent’s former teacher, one girl replied that she “had been ?psychedout'” (19). “Miss Shepard had thrown down her book and rushed out of theclassroom in tears the previous Friday. The kids weren’t surprised that shehadn’t returned.
They were obviously proud of their handiwork. . . ” (19). Moments later a dictionary was flung at her head and she then proceeded to leavethe classroom.
After the dictionary incident she spoke with a colleague, HalGray. After a brief discussion with him, she went back to the class where shewas inspired by her former drill instructor, Petty Officer Hawk’s, presenceand confronted the student who threw the dictionary at her. After getting in theboy’s face, he gave into her demand of sitting down. After introducing herselfand telling them about her Marine and Navy background, she gained the advantageand some of their respect from fear that she could kill them with her barehands.
The book is not suggesting that every teacher that has a difficult groupof students should let them think that he or she, meaning the teacher, is goingto violent if they do not cooperate in class. However, with this group of kidsMs. Johnson thought that it would be most effective to intimidate her newstudents. After gaining his or her respect, she started to care about eachstudent. She went above and beyond what is to be expected from the averageteacher. She truly cared about each of students and did her best to get to knoweach of them on a personal basis.
She even proves in her book, My Posse Don’tDo Homework, that this is an effective way of teaching these students who havebeen told that they are not important and that they would not achieve to bemuch. Most of the students in her classes were passing with average and aboveaverage grades. The same students were doing below average or failing otherclasses that were instructed by teachers who did not put much to any effort inshowing these students any affection. James A. Banks states in his book AnIntroduction to Multicultural Education: “I think we have to create a caringcommunity in the classroom.
We have to create what psychologists call asuperordinate group in the classroom” (93). He goes on later discusses andsomewhat defines a super ordinate groups. Banks states, “Allport’s theory ofgroup contact suggests ways to create a sense of community. In order to create asense of community, we first need to create a group within the group notcooperation.
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 tohelp 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 seethat their student is learning? One option to helping students better themselvesand give more of the much-needed affection is to reduce class size.
Johnsonstates in the introduction to her book, “When classes are small enough toallow individual student-teacher interaction, a minor miracle occurs: Teachersteach and students learn” (2). When teachers gain a positive rapport withtheir students because of smaller class sizes, fewer students have a chance tofall through the cracks. LouAnne Johnson stated, “The Junior Advanis andAttiba 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 adiploma in one hand and a dream in another. It’s these kids–the ones youdon’t read about in the newspapers because good news doesn’t sell–who keepme coming back every year to my lopsided wooden desk, my crumbling bulletinboards, 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 totheir students and how having a passion for teaching can positively affect thelives of the students that they encounter. Not only does it make going to workeach day that little more exciting, but it also helps a student set and achievetheir goals, which is the purpose for teaching.
BibliographyBanks, 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.