My heart broke when I read the story of this 4 year old abused girl. When the officers asked her what her name was, she responded, “Idiot.” The other child living in the house said that she was called that in place of her name.
Soon after reading this story, I came across a tweet of this video, “Every Opportunity“. It was produced by the Atlanta Speech School and it shows the negative effect our language has on students through the eyes of a student. If you have not seen it, please watch it.I don’t consider myself a “bad” teacher, but it spurred an immediate evaluation of the language I use in my classroom.
We are aware that there are teachers out there who call their students out their name. The words idiots, fools, stupid, animals, and other unmentionables flow freely every day, all day.
And although some might not actually say these words to their students, (even though I am sure there are those who do),their very actions belie how they feel about the children under their care.
Imagine walking into a classroom where the teacher believes you are no better than the dirt beneath his or her shoes. A classroom where the teacher dishes out a daily dose of humiliation and belittlement. And while he or she might not call the student stupid, idiot, or animal their actions translate into words the students feel.
We have to make sure our words do not strip our children of their humanity. We have to make sure that our words uplift our students, not put them down. We have to understand the impact our words, actions, and thoughts can have on the choices our students make.
We have to make sure that our students know that their name is not “idiot.”
Originally posted on “Diary of a Public School Teacher!“