Comments: 394 • Responses: 74 • Date: 2013-02-05 14:24:18 UTCsource
sunsethighway44 karma2013-02-05 14:50:13 UTC
How do you maintain authority when you're only 22 years old and probably look as young as they do?
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whiskeydickwinters80 karma2013-02-05 14:59:51 UTC
You'd be surprised how much older I look than most of the students, but there will always be those who mature quickly.
One thing that sounds simple and not significant is that I wear a tie every single day, even though most of the teachers at the school do not and there's no dress code compelling me to. Like I said, sounds silly, but I noticed a significant change in classroom management difficulties once I began dressing more formally every day. I wish I had a better explanation for that bit, but I don't. I guess students just see the tie as meaning 'yo, it's work time'.
Another is to just not let emotions run ANYTHING!!! These kids have disrespected me, mocked me, made fun of me, and at times openly defied me. You HAVE to roll with the punches and not take a single thing personally or let them rattle you. Most of them will stop 'testing' you once you've shown them they won't get anything from it.
Things calm down a LOT once you start making calls home. That was what did it for me, I began writing the names of students down who had frequent behavioral issues and calling home once it reached a point.
seanadb27 karma2013-02-05 16:52:51 UTC
I remember in junior high, the substitute teachers who gained the most respect were the ones who were not emotional/in a power struggle. The more calm/assertive they were, the more we stayed quiet (out of respect or whatever). This has nothing to do with colour of skin, just human behaviour. Kudos to you for recognising this!
goo3218 karma2013-02-05 17:02:29 UTC
I remember no arguments/power struggles with substitute teachers. What was going on at your school?
whiskeydickwinters6 karma2013-02-05 17:19:02 UTC
Either one of a few things was different about your school. You may have had above average students in terms of their treatment and respect for subs. The subs were not doing their jobs and just letting the students do what they wanted, hence the lack of argument or struggle. I don't know, though. Like I said somewhere earlier, every school is different and every child is different.
patashn1k11 karma2013-02-05 20:12:29 UTC
If only my own high school teachers had had half the wisdom you have at your age. I appreciate what you're doing. It's the teachers that stand out, for better or worse, that students remember long after they've left.
whiskeydickwinters9 karma2013-02-05 23:02:34 UTC
I appreciate the kind words. I truly do.
Viviparous27 karma2013-02-05 16:57:54 UTC
So what's crack-a-lackin' in Mr. Cracker's class today?
whiskeydickwinters50 karma2013-02-05 17:06:56 UTC
MONROE DOCTRINE AND ANDY ROO JACKSON, BRO!
KabyRabbi12317 karma2013-02-05 15:09:43 UTC
Best and worse student encounters you have had?
whiskeydickwinters50 karma2013-02-05 15:30:19 UTC
A student called me a faggot once. That was rough to take. Not because I'm gay or offended by that word, but because it just takes so much malice and disrespect to say that to another human being. I reprimanded the shit out of her, more for the 2 gay students in the class than for myself. You don't get to use that kind of language in my class, which I work very hard to make a comfortable and safe environment.
Salacious-14 karma2013-02-05 14:25:46 UTC
Why are cornrows so popular?
whiskeydickwinters36 karma2013-02-05 14:38:47 UTC
I actually think they've fallen out of popularity with guys for the most part. I see very few students with cornrows or dreads, but that could just be around here.
With women, I think it's viewed as a more 'traditional' or 'ethnic' haircut. But truth be told, I haven't earned my masters in cornrow culture yet, but by golly, I'm working on it!
The_Evil_Within9 karma2013-02-05 16:26:39 UTC
From my foreigner's viewpoint, it seems that all the real racial trouble in the states is in the more urban areas. Low income rural is different from low income urban.
You're closer to it - what are the racial issue differences that come from teaching in the country vs inner city? I'm assuming you don't have race-based gang issues, for instance.
Do you think you have it better or worse than your urban counterparts?
whiskeydickwinters23 karma2013-02-05 16:37:10 UTC
As far as racial issues, it's definitely worse in urban areas, which surprised the hell out of me. I teach in the rural south, so understandably (I think) I expected more racial tension than in the 'metropolitan and enlightened' urban areas (at least as they think of themselves). You're right about gang issues, it's not a big problem here. But in the urban district right next to mine, it's much much worse about gang related violence and crime.
whatzwgo9 karma2013-02-05 16:27:06 UTC
Thanks for not taking the usual Reddit approach when it comes to AMAs about race related topics. Good luck on your teaching career.
HeWhoDefiles12 karma2013-02-05 21:53:16 UTC
What's the usual Reddit approach?
whiskeydickwinters14 karma2013-02-05 22:26:37 UTC
I was actually wondering this as well...
whiskeydickwinters10 karma2013-02-05 16:37:21 UTC
Deapree9 karma2013-02-05 16:40:22 UTC
Thanks Mr, Nephew for not treating us like Niggas but like young impressionable men. For that I was greatful.
whiskeydickwinters20 karma2013-02-05 16:42:03 UTC
I don't know who Mr. Nephew is, but...you're welcome?
ChuckSpears8 karma2013-02-06 02:26:50 UTC
Do you support teachers carrying concealed firearms in the classroom?
whiskeydickwinters8 karma2013-02-06 06:12:28 UTC
Not one bit, not at all, no no no. Schools are places that are emotionally charged and lead to high emotion shifts, among students AND teachers. Adding a gun to the mix, with what we can all acknowledge will be accompanied by insufficient training and preparation, is a recipe for a lot more bad than good.
jhartwell8 karma2013-02-05 14:56:36 UTC
How are the parents that you deal with? Would you say you see a high involvement from them? My wife teaches elementary school at Catholic school that has a lot of low income students (many African American as well as Hispanic students) and it seems like there are many parents who just don't care.
whiskeydickwinters31 karma2013-02-05 15:05:55 UTC
One thing to note is that half of my students don't have parents in the picture, or if they do, they only have one. A large amount of my students live with extended family, and it's a mixed bag.
I would say overall the parent involvement where I am is much like what your wife's is, disappointingly low. There are so many that truly don't give a shit about their kids.
On the other hand, there are some amazing parents that work so hard to provide for their kids and push forward their education, and I'd hate for it to sound like they aren't there. Because they most certainly are.
Gary_The_Oak38 karma2013-02-05 16:34:28 UTC
"I would say overall the parent involvement where I am is much like what your wife's is, disappointingly low."
I just sort of skimmed his post, and when I read this in the reply... I thought you just gave him an absurdly sick burn out of nowhere.
whiskeydickwinters12 karma2013-02-05 16:44:11 UTC
I snort laughed. You're lucky I'm on my planning period, or I'd have to write you up!
mologg8 karma2013-02-05 16:33:57 UTC
Have you seen the fourth season of the The Wire? And if you have, do you relate to how the school system is portraited in that show?
(if you haven't seen it i highly reccomend that you do!)
whiskeydickwinters8 karma2013-02-05 16:38:50 UTC
I have never ever seen The Wire. Not by some choice or aversion to it, I just don't watch much TV these days.
How do they portray the school system? I'd love to hear.
guruclef448 karma2013-02-05 15:16:00 UTC
Now, it is well known that being a teacher is one of the most stressful jobs with not the best pay. Considering that, has there ever been a time where you've felt like just quitting? What keeps you motivated to be a teacher? I ask because i simply can't fathom the kind of patience that teachers have. It's not only the mountains of work or the sadness of seeing someone just not caring about school, but teaching is just an overall really hard thing.
whiskeydickwinters23 karma2013-02-05 15:23:40 UTC
Very good question. The pay has never deterred me much. I live simply and don't have expensive hobbies or habits. I'm also not married and don't plan on having children any time soon. So at least for the moment, $30k a year isn't a bad living for a single male that doesn't need or spend much.
As far as quitting, yes, there have been more times than I can count I just wanted to hang up my spurs and figure something else out. Much of that changed when I changed how I viewed teaching. I promised myself I would teach for no less than 5 years, no matter how hard it gets, I will not give up. In another answer I mentioned viewing it as 'civic duty'. I just know that I can help students a lot more than some shitty teachers out there, and I owe it to those less fortunate than I was growing up to do everything I can to help them create the opportunities for themselves that were so readily given to me (often without really earning them) and teaching is the best way to do that, in my opinion.
patashn1k6 karma2013-02-05 20:24:02 UTC
Are you a robot or just a damn good person?
whiskeydickwinters36 karma2013-02-05 22:30:20 UTC
I AM TEACHBOT 3000. I WILL EDUCATE YOUR CHILDREN.
EGrshm7 karma2013-02-05 15:36:51 UTC
I've read about the lack of information regarding the school system for African-Americans in the urban school system. For example, many of them are not even aware that other school systems exist where they are expected to succeed (i.e. higher quality private schools, etc.)
So, my question is, what are the best steps that you think we, as a national community, can take to better inform the new generation?
whiskeydickwinters24 karma2013-02-05 15:44:38 UTC
It's a tough pill for a lot to swallow and seems like teachers are passing the blame on this, but it really does have to start with the parents. It's not that I don't wish I could inform every student I have of every option they have, but I just don't have the time or resources. And I'm just a student teacher! Throw in teachers that coach, have families, etc. etc. and the time teachers have to do anything but teach to the test in class is extremely limited.
I don't like the idea of simply moving students to better school systems and private schools as opposed to trying to fix the ones that have problems. As a national community, we need to start investing in education across the board, and not just in monetary terms. If people were as involved in their kid's school as they were at their church, a lot of good could be done.
thombudsman6 karma2013-02-05 16:25:02 UTC
How confident are you in the next generation? And what's your opinion of their parents in general?
whiskeydickwinters13 karma2013-02-05 16:30:37 UTC
I try to keep a neutral feeling about parents, but it's so hard to not feel like it's 'us' vs. 'them' sometimes. Parents NEVER come in to just see how their child is being taught, check up on them, god forbid thank or praise their teachers. We only hear from them when their kid was sent out of class or failed a test, and the first thing they jump to is that it's the teacher's fault. Which is usually a pretty ridiculous assumption to make.
I have confidence in the potential of the next generation. I lack confidence in their drive, their ambition, and their work ethic as it is right now. Laziness has swept through
asinine10106 karma2013-02-05 20:24:13 UTC
whiskeydickwinters11 karma2013-02-05 20:30:25 UTC
An enormous one. Military history is something I had a passion for and then added an education for- I took a LOT of military classes, attended guest speaker, anything I could get my hands on. Band of Brothers is as accurate as it gets.
God bless Tom Hanks.
adjoel5 karma2013-02-05 16:45:38 UTC
What subject do you teach? How do you make your subject matter enjoyable and interesting for your students? I know that half the time, I was bored to tears in some of my classes in high school...
whiskeydickwinters14 karma2013-02-05 16:56:57 UTC
I teach U.S. history right now to juniors in high school. One thing the school has that is very, very useful for making class more interesting is a laptop program they started this year as a pilot program in the county. I've had a field day finding more interactive and entertaining ways to convey the content to students and asses them on it. Gone are the days of standing and lecturing then making them do a worksheet! HERE COMES THE INTERNETZ!
adjoel3 karma2013-02-05 17:06:30 UTC
That's really cool! One of the things I really appreciated when I took AP classes, especially AP US History was the teacher's enthusiasm for their subject. Sometimes, I fear that making classes internet/computer based will diminish that enthusiasm, unless the teacher is really interactive too. For instance, I really like the vlog brothers videos on Youtube, partly because they're so enthusiastic. Granted, I may be in the minority on this...
Also, I hope this doesn't sound like I'm accusing you of not interacting with your students! If it does, I don't mean it like that!
whiskeydickwinters6 karma2013-02-05 17:10:28 UTC
I didn't take it like that at all. It's a very real side effect of technology- it can be detrimental to the human-to-human aspect. The trick is to know when to use the technology and how. The students are very structured as to when they may use their laptops and what they may do on them. If I'm giving a lecture or guiding them through something (unless it's something that NEEDS the laptop), the laptops are shut and put away.
As to my own use, I use lectures on my laptop and use a projector while moving around the room. I couldn't get the school to fund digital remotes, so I got my own so I wouldn't have to stand at my computer the whole time.
thombudsman3 karma2013-02-05 16:13:47 UTC
What would you change about the school to make it better?
whiskeydickwinters9 karma2013-02-05 16:19:10 UTC
Hire just one more teacher per subject area. With smaller class sizes, it would be a lot easier to motivate and reach these kids. My smallest class has 30 kids and the largest has 34. It's very hard to give any individualized attention with that environment.
aaronmonk3 karma2013-02-05 18:47:23 UTC
My classes are mostly 34 :-(
whiskeydickwinters4 karma2013-02-05 20:29:03 UTC
thombudsman3 karma2013-02-05 16:14:22 UTC
What's your saddest story concerning a student?
whiskeydickwinters17 karma2013-02-05 16:17:32 UTC
Recently, a student at the school hung himself at home. That in itself is heartbreaking, but I didn't know the student directly. I do however have quite a few of his friends in my classes or have had them before and still talk to them. Seeing them suffer through the pain of losing a friend to suicide is heart wrenching.
SalsaRice2 karma2013-02-05 18:07:11 UTC
What if you could select only 1-2 subjects to add another teacher to? What subjects do your students (and the system in general) need to focus on more?
whiskeydickwinters13 karma2013-02-05 20:27:46 UTC
I'm of course going to say history, but mostly because most schools can't afford to offer history electives that would interest a wider array of students- things like African-American History, Law and Legality classes, Women's History, things of that nature that many students would really truly like to learn about.
My more pragmatic answer would be English and the entire arts department. We're in danger of having an entire generation of kids that fucking suck at reading and writing (excuse my language, but it's kind of ridiculous). That HAS to change, and that happens through history and to a greater extent english teachers.
The Arts need moar. MOAR MOAR MOAR. Schools are run like prisons now, and anyone who tells you otherwise is simply wrong (speaking about public school mostly). You have to provide outlets for these kids, otherwise a LOT of them drop out. There are so many students that only come to school so they can go to art, or band, or chorus etc. They put up with the prison so that they can express themselves. And the first thing we cut funding for is arts. It's sickening.
camelCase475 karma2013-02-05 21:05:45 UTC
My school district started doing major cuts and it wasn't the best education out there neither but it was the only district we had. I was originally in band and I was really interested in showing up to class and going to school and they cut all electives!!! They changed all electives into reading courses instead because the districts reading levels were very poor. Some students, the more lazy ones, were reading below 5th grade.
whiskeydickwinters3 karma2013-02-05 22:27:54 UTC
I understand where these school systems are coming from, I just think they're going about it the wrong way. Punishing kids in the arts is no way to make up for your own failings in teaching reading and writing skills.
tomderp2 karma2013-02-05 22:33:57 UTC
I go to a high school in an upper middle class suburb. We have a large amount of program's and electives but I wish we did have more history electives because we virtually have none. One class I really do wish we had was Holocaust studies. I plan to major on that in college.
whiskeydickwinters2 karma2013-02-05 22:52:37 UTC
My favorite professor taught my favorite class ever, and it was on the Holocaust. I
[deleted]3 karma2013-02-05 16:55:48 UTC
whiskeydickwinters2 karma2013-02-05 17:06:32 UTC
I have not. What is it?
[deleted]3 karma2013-02-05 17:08:54 UTC
whiskeydickwinters1 karma2013-02-05 17:15:43 UTC
It sounds good. I very much like Sidney Poitier. I'll definitely check it out, thanks for alerting me!
sigrid23 karma2013-02-05 22:07:07 UTC
do you have good weed hookups from the students ?
whiskeydickwinters4 karma2013-02-05 22:18:52 UTC
I do not.
[deleted]3 karma2013-02-05 14:35:34 UTC
whiskeydickwinters2 karma2013-02-05 14:39:58 UTC
I haven't been physically attacked or anything like that, knock on wood. I've had to break up a couple fights here and there, but since the school is in a rural area there isn't as much gang activity, which cuts down immensely on violence at school.
newbeginnings013 karma2013-02-05 15:06:24 UTC
Have you been called any interesting names?
whiskeydickwinters34 karma2013-02-05 15:09:40 UTC
I've had one student who always enters class with "what's crackalackin in mr. cracker's class today?". I know the student though, and it's not subversive or malicious. He's a good kid and the keeps the other students on the football team with him in line.
TrueRange10 karma2013-02-05 15:51:15 UTC
Ah, gotta love them double standards. Malicious or not to you, that shit is racist.
whiskeydickwinters17 karma2013-02-05 15:57:10 UTC
I agree, and in retrospect, I should have nipped in the bud right away. Sadly, I no longer teach that class and can't rectify that mistake.
ReigningTierney3 karma2013-02-05 14:34:58 UTC
Whats the craziest story you have?
whiskeydickwinters16 karma2013-02-05 14:45:12 UTC
I wish I had some craziness for you, but thankfully (knock on wood), nothing all that crazy has happened yet. I've had a few female students try to...ahem...get hot for teacher, but I've shut them all down firmly but gently. That's about as crazy as anything has gotten.
lovesfunnyposts3 karma2013-02-05 14:56:54 UTC
What has been your biggest disappointment / disillusionment?
whiskeydickwinters32 karma2013-02-05 15:07:35 UTC
Realizing how utterly fucked the education system is. Administrators who have NEVER taught a thing and don't give a shit about the teachers, the people making the decisions for public education have truly zero experience or credentials to do so, the trainwreck that is tenure at the high school level. There is no reason anyone should be 'immune' from being judged for their performance, which unfortunately, a lot of shit teacher who have been around for a long time are.
whiskeydickwinters15 karma2013-02-05 15:08:05 UTC
That being said, I will continue to work in the education system and do what I can to improve it. Just because it's broken doesn't mean it can't be fixed.
BowsNToes212 karma2013-02-06 00:16:37 UTC
So how do you feel about charter schools with no teacher unions that allow terrible teachers/administrators to keep their job?
whiskeydickwinters3 karma2013-02-06 00:39:02 UTC
I think charter schools are a good idea that are frequently very poorly implemented. There needs to be far more oversight.
turdferguson11133 karma2013-02-05 16:08:47 UTC
This may have been asked already, but have you used Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" to implement a lesson plan?
whiskeydickwinters7 karma2013-02-05 16:11:31 UTC
I have not. Yet...
thombudsman3 karma2013-02-05 16:13:18 UTC
What's the quality of education these kids are receiving from their school?
whiskeydickwinters14 karma2013-02-05 16:15:20 UTC
The teachers here are for the most part very, very good teachers. So I will put it this way...they do the best with what they have to work with. It's hard to teach in a district that doesn't care, and even harder to teach students who a lot of the time also don't care.
thombudsman2 karma2013-02-05 16:17:05 UTC
Why do you say the district doesn't care?
whiskeydickwinters9 karma2013-02-05 16:21:12 UTC
The schools are falling apart, the books are decades old in many cases, the schools are overpopulated and overtaxed, and there is very little support for teachers (though this is also due to the administration). Meanwhile, those in high positions with the school board in the district are still making six figure salaries and doing nothing to fix their increasingly inadequate education services.
whiskeydickwinters8 karma2013-02-05 16:23:03 UTC
Decades is a bit exaggerated, I wish I'd phrased that better. The point stands though, the textbook we're using right now is nearly ten years old. This isn't a problem directly, I rarely use the textbook anyway. But it is an indicator of the investment in a school and/or district.
[deleted]1 karma2013-02-05 17:42:35 UTC
whiskeydickwinters10 karma2013-02-05 17:47:05 UTC
It's not so much that the content changes, but that we discover, develop, and utilize new ways to present it.
probablybetterthanu2 karma2013-02-05 18:19:16 UTC
how mny blunts u smoke per day neff
whiskeydickwinters10 karma2013-02-05 18:22:43 UTC
Minimum thirty blunts per day.
kaykun902 karma2013-02-05 18:57:01 UTC
have you ever had to stop a fight?
whiskeydickwinters4 karma2013-02-05 20:12:11 UTC
I've had to stop two. There's not much to it, one occurred in class and that was easy to manage. The other, not so much.
At the time that this happened, I wasn't teaching my own class yet, I was observing and occasionally working with one. One of the first days I was there, I was walking out at the end of the day and see two kids (they looked roughly sophomore age) nose to nose- AKA fight time. I hustled over and got there right as they started throwing punches. I grabbed one kid by the shirt collar and wrenched him away and stepped between them. In the meantime, a resource officer heard the commotion and came over to help separate them.
I will never forget the look this kid gave me (the one that I grabbed). I've been in fights, but damn, I've never seen someone want to KILL me before. This kid had crazy eyes. He rethought acting on it when he realized he's very small and I'm very large...I was a little outside his weight class.
RaySis2 karma2013-02-06 04:39:22 UTC
Whats your position on the racial bias in standardized testing?
whiskeydickwinters8 karma2013-02-06 05:50:12 UTC
I have to say, it may anger some people, but I don't see it. There is nothing about being black that makes you any less capable of taking the same test the white students do and after taking MANY...MANY standardized tests and tending to be fairly well versed in racism, both blatant and subtle, I don't see the racial bias. I think it's a cop out by schools, parents, and students.
That being said, I despise standardized testing and want to see it eradicated with vigor.
SojuSojuSoju2 karma2013-02-05 14:26:24 UTC
Teach for America, or a similar program?
Best and worst moment teaching?
What prompted you to make this decision?
whiskeydickwinters9 karma2013-02-05 14:32:45 UTC
I am under no scholarships or programs. I was blessed enough that my parents were willing to pay for my college, and I make an effort to thank and make them proud whenever I possibly can.
My best moment is the same moment, but over and over. A lot of people call it the 'light bulb' moment. Nothing compares to seeing a student's face light up and hear them say "Oh, I get it!"
My worst moment was one afternoon when my least well behaved class spent the better part of a class being disruptive and disrespectful. I strive to stay bland and emotionally controlled at all times, but that day they got to me. I started yelling, punishing, and sending students out of class. By the time the storm passed, I felt just awful.
I love history as a subject, so that's how I chose what I teach. But the decision to teach in general stemmed from wanting a career that I went home at the end of the day feeling like I accomplished something that was for more than myself. I view it as civic and human duty.
SojuSojuSoju1 karma2013-02-05 14:37:13 UTC
Did you deliberately pick a lower-income minority school because of that last point? Also, do you encounter issues with regards to your age? I'm 22 as well and teaching in South Korea, but elementary and middle school (plus they all think I'm like 30). I'd assume having only a couple years gap would diminish your clout a tiny bit.
whiskeydickwinters5 karma2013-02-05 14:48:14 UTC
Great question. I was assigned to the school where I am by my college, so no, I didn't choose it. I wish I could say I chose it for that reason and jumped in with vigor, but I was honestly disappointed and scared about my assignment.
The age thing is tough. The key is to find ways to clearly distinguish yourself for them. For myself, wearing a tie has been the simplest but effective change to make. I hate the advice older teachers give to "not smile until March", but unfortunately, it's necessary. Kids have to be made to understand I am not your peer or your friend, I am your teacher, and we have business to attend to.
freemarket272 karma2013-02-05 14:38:32 UTC
How do your students treat those who are not African American?
whiskeydickwinters6 karma2013-02-05 14:41:08 UTC
For the most part, no different than anyone else. There will always be students AND teachers that act differently, but for the most part, skin color has little to do with how I or other non African Americans are treated here.
billames2 karma2013-02-05 15:25:14 UTC
Do the students respect you?
whiskeydickwinters7 karma2013-02-05 15:26:23 UTC
Some do, some don't. Respect has to be earned, and the best way to do that is show my own respect for the students.
billames2 karma2013-02-05 15:32:05 UTC
How well do the students read? I ask because I often sub at a middle-class, near-entirely white school and the reading comprehension among students, even the bright ones, is just awful.
whiskeydickwinters6 karma2013-02-05 15:33:52 UTC
It's pretty bad, but a lot of that is due to laziness. It's not that kids can't read and comprehend, it's that they refuse to put any effort into it. They just wait until you or someone else gives them the answer or 'comprehends' it for them.
yobria2 karma2013-02-05 17:16:02 UTC
If you had to guess, what percent of students at your school are going to "make it" into middle class life? And what percent are on the dead-or-in-jail track?
whiskeydickwinters1 karma2013-02-05 17:21:32 UTC
I can't speak for the whole school, only for my own students. I teach standard classes, the 'bad kids', so a higher proportion of them are going to have troubled backgrounds and unfortunately, troubled lives.
My best guess for the school is 30%-40% will break out of the cycle many of their families have been stuck in for a while now.
yobria1 karma2013-02-05 19:25:15 UTC
Interesting, thanks. I wonder really if giving more money to schools can really change that percentage much. As you say, it starts with parents and society.
whiskeydickwinters4 karma2013-02-05 20:15:55 UTC
It truly does. I think education funding needs to be raised, but that's not going to do much good if we don't figure out how to get parents to stop being shitty and kids to stop idolizing ignorance and laziness (<- ALL kids, not tied to race)
causalcorrelation2 karma2013-02-05 16:47:27 UTC
I intend to become a teacher, and since I come from a lower-middle class background, I'm in a helluva lot of debt, and will likely end up teaching in a low-income area because of that.
What do you teach? I'm interested because i think it may affect your experience in ways different from the way mine would be affected (I'm going to teach math).
whiskeydickwinters8 karma2013-02-05 17:01:02 UTC
I commend you as an intended math educator. I teach history. And you, my friend, are spot on that it's different. But don't let that deter you- every subject in school has it's own challenges and benefits to teach.
For example, depending on what math you're teaching, it can be very, very easy to attach real world applications of those skills. Sometimes it's hard to do that in a history class. It's tough finding ways to make the War of 1812 relevant to student interests (just an off the cuff example.)
On the flip side, there will always be kids that HATE math. The key for you is to not make math seem so daunting, and especially, like a punishment. There are few things more demoralizing to be bad at than math for high schoolers. It may as well be another language that some of your peers understand and you just...don't. So be warm, be bubbly, and make sure kids know that it's OK TO BE WRONG! You're learning, it'd be weird if you WEREN'T wrong a lot of the time.
SalsaRice3 karma2013-02-05 18:19:52 UTC
Bravo on teaching math. You end up learning ~90% of a math degree to teach, most likely, the most difficult subject in our current school system. We need more folks like you.
causalcorrelation1 karma2013-02-05 19:25:48 UTC
I'm not sure if I understand. 90% of a math degree is probably substantially more than most math teachers have ever dealt with. I know this because I majored in math and most math teachers don't have mathematics degrees.
However, I agree with you! We need more math teachers who took high-level math!
Thanks for the support.
SalsaRice1 karma2013-02-05 19:42:17 UTC
I was going on what I knew from acquaintances who majored in math education. From my understanding, they get pretty deep down the math curriculum (way more than they'd ever have to teach) and use their humanities for education classes.
causalcorrelation1 karma2013-02-05 19:51:20 UTC
well, at least where I went to school, they have separate classes for those interested in B.A. in mathematics or for an ed degree, and they are called "X for teachers" and they are the easier versions of the other math classes, so they can still get their 400-level math requirements without murdering their GPAs (they also don't need as many because they get the B.A.).
whiskeydickwinters1 karma2013-02-05 20:17:22 UTC
It's just like going to school for a history education or english education degree. You'll learn pretty much what the math major would have, with maybe 5/6 classes more for the math major.
jkingme2 karma2013-02-05 19:39:28 UTC
Have you seen the film Detachment with Adrien Brody? He plays a slightly older (than you) white teacher in a predominantly Black American school.
If you've seen it, can you relate to his character at all? If you haven't seen it, it's a pretty good flick.
whiskeydickwinters4 karma2013-02-05 20:05:41 UTC
I've seen it and related so much that I almost quit teaching. Detachment is an incredibly well done movie that captures a lot of what's going wrong in education these days, particularly in lower income areas. My only qualm is that it's a bit exaggerated and paints the situation as more bleak than it really is, but that's Hollywood for you.
BatmansNygma2 karma2013-02-05 19:41:03 UTC
How do you treat students that actually want to be there and learn? I'm targeted in my math class because I want everyone to be quiet so I can listen. I never though "smart" would feel like an insult.
whiskeydickwinters3 karma2013-02-05 20:08:51 UTC
I treat them the same as everyone else, simply because I treat everyone equally. That being said, I do a lot of work behind the scenes (to the students) to ensure you have the best environment to learn in that I can give you.
I hope people don't take that to mean I treat the good students as poorly as I treat the bad. In reality, it means I treat the bad kids as well as I treat the good kids. Subtle but important distinction.
Jethrogalloch2 karma2013-02-05 20:14:33 UTC
Have you ever, even in jest or without realizing it, made what could have been perceived as a racially motivated remark in class, or been accused of such? If not you, then how about some of your coworkers?
whiskeydickwinters6 karma2013-02-05 20:32:29 UTC
I personally haven't had an issue with that yet, knock on wood (knock knock knock). Every single white teacher at this school has been accused of being racist at some point, whether it was true or not. It rarely is.
It's usually a parent that's just upset their perfect little angel could have talked all through class, done none of the homework, and failed the test. Not my little baby!
So it's automatically the teacher's fault, and without a halfway decent argument as to why, they go with the ol' faithful...call them racist.
Pg21_SubsecD_Pgrph122 karma2013-02-05 17:25:00 UTC
Let's say I'm one of your students and I am being disruptive and insulting and will simply not stop, regardless of your warnings. What do you do next?
whiskeydickwinters9 karma2013-02-05 17:31:00 UTC
I ask you very calmly to join me in the hall, just outside the door so I can still be considered supervisory to the class. The key word there is ASK. Everything in how I deal with this is to make it the student's choice, and then I react to that choice.
I very calmly and very politely inform them that they have been disruptive and have two choices. They may choose to rejoin class and cease disrupting myself and the other students. Or they can choose to leave. Should they choose leaving or choose to continue to be disruptive, I remove them from class for the day.
The next day, I again speak with them about it. If for no other reason than to make sure there wasn't something going on that made them act out in such a way that could be understandable. Usually not excusable, but understandable.
Pg21_SubsecD_Pgrph122 karma2013-02-05 17:35:46 UTC
What if they refuse to see you in the hallway? And if you do make them leave the class, where do you send them and how do you make sure they actually go where you tell them?
whiskeydickwinters5 karma2013-02-05 17:40:16 UTC
They go to ISS (in school suspension). I've yet to have it be an issue, but ISS keeps track of it and I make sure they went. If they refused to see me in the hallway, then they leave class. They chose to not discuss it with me, so they chose to be removed so the others can continue learning.
If they refused to leave, I would have a resource officer at the school come and collect them.
Edit: Having a student leave class is my absolute last resort, in ANY situation.
digitalpirate02 karma2013-02-06 00:21:40 UTC
Fuck PC. Call me Irish-American instead of white if you call every black person African-American.
whiskeydickwinters2 karma2013-02-06 00:37:45 UTC
My students have told me they prefer African-American. So that's what I use when they're part of the topic. Now calm down.
iamjacksprofile1 karma2013-02-05 16:47:08 UTC
Would you say that this is an accurate description of what it's like to teach inner city youth?
whiskeydickwinters4 karma2013-02-05 17:06:12 UTC
I don't teach inner city youth, so I wouldn't know about that parallel specifically. However, in relation to my school, much of that isn't a terrible representation, especially when it talks about grammar and such.
French871 karma2013-02-05 20:54:58 UTC
what's your salary like, if you don't mind?
I know teachers are already wildly underpaid as it is, is it worse for you given the area in which you teach?
what state are you in? (so I can get an idea of cost of living versus your actual pay)
whiskeydickwinters2 karma2013-02-05 22:04:33 UTC
As an intern, I have no salary. None at all.
RunsWithBears1 karma2013-02-06 00:41:33 UTC
I might be a little late to the party, but I was hoping you could answer a few things for me.
I read in the comments that you are a history teacher. What kind of books have you read to further enlighten you in the matter that you would recommend for a college sophomore wanting to go out and teach in the same area?
As far as classroom management goes, do you have any tips to make it pretty easy for you as far as keeping everyone in control?
Some students tend to find history classes boring in high school, how do you make it entertaining in any form?
Thanks you if you answer and keep up the good work man.
whiskeydickwinters3 karma2013-02-06 06:08:52 UTC
I've read quite a few, but I think you'll be surprised by the one that's helped the most in terms of being based in reality and not theory. First Year Teaching for Dummies. I read that with no shame. If it helps, read it. If it doesn't, fuck it.
For classroom management, it's all about respect with low income students sometimes. As with anything else, I believe 70% of the importance in what you say is HOW you say it. It can make a big difference, to not yell "ALRIGHT EVERYONE SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP" and instead say "will everyone please sit down" or "alright guys, it's time to start _____________". I have my normal volume teacher voice and my loud volume teacher voice, but there's no difference in the tone or harshness of either. The louder one is just that- louder.
I try to use as much multimedia as possible and give ample opportunity for student input, i.e. discussions. Students are more engaged when they feel like they get to add to the discussion instead of just hearing the whole thing from someone else.
courtFTW1 karma2013-02-05 22:40:50 UTC
Are you with Teach for America?
whiskeydickwinters3 karma2013-02-05 22:42:33 UTC
I am not.
I_Glow_Boats1 karma2013-02-05 21:06:49 UTC
I'm curious to find out what your motivations for doing this IamA are and what sort of questions you're hoping to get and/or are expecting.
This is by no means a 'loaded' question, it was just the first thing that I thought when I read the title and decided to go with it.
whiskeydickwinters1 karma2013-02-05 22:22:03 UTC
Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect. I just get a lot of questions when people learn what I'm doing and where, so I thought I'd see if reddit did. I read AMA's pretty frequently, so I thought I'd see if one of my own had any good questions come out of it.
I have had far fewer "do you fuck any of your students?" questions than I thought. I get a lot of those from people, maybe not in such a crass manner, but I do get asked frequently on the subject.
[deleted]1 karma2013-02-05 21:39:33 UTC
whiskeydickwinters1 karma2013-02-05 22:19:25 UTC
In this history department, there are honors classes and AP U.S. History. I haven't been teaching long enough to send any kids off to college, but it'll happen!
FarmerK1 karma2013-02-06 04:49:48 UTC
Have you ever seen the movie freedom writers? What are your thoughts on it?
whiskeydickwinters2 karma2013-02-06 05:48:00 UTC
I haven't seen it, but I want to.
Sherman881 karma2013-02-06 01:18:12 UTC
Why not wiskeybillguarnere?
whiskeydickwinters2 karma2013-02-06 06:04:14 UTC
I don't get whiskey bill very often, but to many a female's disappointment, I've had the whiskey dick (winters?)
Pintosp1 karma2013-02-06 00:01:03 UTC
Hey I am pretty much in the same boat, same age, same type of location, but different subject (math). I have 2 classes with at-risk students in them (one class has more than 50 percent of the students with IEPs) and they seem to not want to do their homework. Calling home only sometimes works, any ideas on how to up productivity. Also any advice considering this is only my 3rd week.
whiskeydickwinters2 karma2013-02-06 05:47:09 UTC
Never take students' comments, defiance, actions, etc. personally. Ever. It's tough, because we're human and kids can be truly awful little (or big!) people. Just think of it this way...why am I letting this CHILD hurt my feelings? Also remember that they don't know you personally, so they really can't mean anything TOO personally anyway.
As far as the homework thing, I can give you what I've done, but keep in mind, I'm learning as well. Two words to describe my approach: tough love. I'm available for help, I've provided them my email address, and I remind them thoroughly whenever we have homework assignments. After that, it's on them, and if the work's not there it's a zero. No if's, no and's, no "BUT MR. WHISKEYDICK?!?!?!" It was hard to stick to this at first, because nobody likes having to write the big nasty zero in the gradebook. But at least with my students, they mostly started doing the homework. And the ones that don't get zeros and after a point, a call home.
idirector1 karma2013-02-05 18:06:14 UTC
What is your theme song?
whiskeydickwinters5 karma2013-02-05 18:21:15 UTC
The Trooper. Seems fitting to me.
IFinallyGotOnReddit1 karma2013-02-05 17:59:15 UTC
As a white student enrolled in a school like the one described, do you see tension between the black and Mexican popularions? Coming to public school from a small, private school, its probably the thing that stuck out to me the most. That and weed. One more thing, how many fights have you seen/broken up? Im at 18.
whiskeydickwinters5 karma2013-02-05 18:21:48 UTC
I have broken up 2 so far. Outside of that, I haven't seen any but I normally hear when something went down. The number is much lower than 18.
IFinallyGotOnReddit3 karma2013-02-05 19:05:04 UTC
I guess i go to a really fucked up school.
whiskeydickwinters4 karma2013-02-05 20:13:27 UTC
No, not really. I've been to schools that rough. Question that can shed some light- how many kids go to your school? what's the total student population?
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