Teachers Teaching/The Help – telling our truths

Side note for those of you who might have been inclined to criticize based on wrong reasons: In no way am I stating the horrific continuing racism and evils of slavery in our country completely compare to teaching. I am attempting to note that these two disparate groups of people are unduly penalized and further punished for telling truths. History is always told after the fact and is written through the lens of the author.  Take a moment to think about how you perceive history and how you would write it differently if you were not this blogger…..

Yesterday I had the opportunity to see The Help with a close friend who is bi-racial (I am caucasian).  I read the book, my friend had not. We have known each other about eight years or as adults.

Having read the book, I feel the movie did good service to the story line of the book – it actually made me wince more and perhaps that is because I could only envision in my mind what was being written while the film put it in my face.  There were multiple times when I cried, not the weepy tears down the cheek, the crying that hurts inside and you feel you are being squashed. I was thankful to leave the theatre and see the light of day as I was so terribly sad and shaken.  Perhaps it was not the movie alone – rather it may have been kinesiology rearing up and sending me the memory of times when I had been treated poorly.  What came to mind were the times when I have had to deal with parents who had ‘alternate’ agendas and principals who supported this behavior.   I was thinking of the times I had been asked to ‘doctor’ the grades – though not in those words as that would have been too obvious.  I started thinking of Natalie Munroe and her perceptions and how she was treated by her school district for putting both light of day and transparency on the topic of student behavior.

Teachers, sadly, have similar fears to the maid/nanny characters in The Help and are required to ‘listen/hear’ to what is said about them without ever being allowed to say how they feel for the very real reason of losing their job and being blackballed. You can not rock a boat and expect no waves to ripple outward.

Imagine each day telling children ‘You are smart, you are kind, you are important’, something their own parents can not or will not say and you start to catch on to what I am talking about. It is not just mothers with postpartum depression or women in the South or something which only happened pre-civil rights.  It is happening now, today all over this country when teachers, try as they might to set high standards and expectations, are denied the follow through of consequences by school administrators and parents.

Teachers are ‘separate’ and considered equal until you look at what happened to Natalie Munroe. When you realize teachers are being held to some higher standard than even that which parents can uphold, the argument becomes clear about telling the truth.

What really got to me was that many of the ‘behaviors’ exhibited by the caucasian women in the movie are not unlike what happens at a school except the parents are generally of all races.  The behavior/treatment to those who are ‘beholden’ to them via their tax dollars is similar.

The very real tears Skeeter shed about finding out the truth of Constantine was due to her genuine love for the woman. In each backflash, we see Skeeter obtaining more from Constantine than what her mother could ‘give’.  The courage Skeeter’s mother demonstrated in the end by thanking her daughter for telling truths  and bring dignity back to the family is something I hope will happen for all teachers.

When teachers are allowed to tell the truth and do what is correct as opposed to the consensus view of others who believe they are acting on behalf of children (administrators and parents who seemingly fail at their most basic tasks of child rearing, governmental officials), we will indeed bring back dignity and integrity to the classroom!