Quantcast

A Teacher Adds Her Voice To The Gun Control Debate

Her Voice

Following the February 14, 2018 mass shooting at Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida where 17 people were killed by a 19-year-old gunman, I watched the response of the nation.


I tend to do this amid all of the many cases of mass shootings, police brutality, and sexual assault surface. I watch the news, read articles and opinion pieces, and share thoughts in discussions with family and friends. But where I've really gained insight on the pulse of the people is on social media sites like Twitter and in comment sections of articles. The part of the nation who breathes hate for humanity seems to be feeling liberated in these times not only through their Twitter fingers but in their actions as well.

I am often left wondering how can another human being wake up everyday releasing hate into the world? How can another human being be opposed to reasonable gun control legislation when children are being murdered before they've had a chance to live? How can another human being justify the killing of unarmed Black men and women solely based on skin color? How can another human being encourage sexual assault and rape culture by perpetuating the "boys will be boys" ideology?

It baffles me. I have so many unanswered questions on when exactly the lack of human care begins to happen in an individual, and why.

Though our nation is wrapped up in the gun control debate right now, I strongly believe that we have to deal with education reform immediately. I currently teach at an elementary school where I have taught for the last six years. I teach grades PK-4, ages 3-9. My school has been named one of the most diverse schools in our area. At these ages, students are exploring, learning, and expressing themselves. In observing my students, I've noticed in grades PK-1st, obvious evidence of care regardless of cultural, racial, or gender differences. If PK-1st grade students notice a friend is hurt, they find ways to comfort him or her, apologies generally come easy, and they speak to one another respectfully.

A shift begins happening in 2nd-4th grades. Friendship groups begin to develop, the term "bullying" begins to surface, sometimes apologies are like pulling teeth, and race and gender opinions start to form. Throughout a child's scholastic life, social curriculum is just as important as academic curriculum. How students learn to treat one another and communicate with one another in spite of their differences starts in elementary school.

If there is no balance between social instruction and academic instruction at all grade levels, the educational system will continue to fail our children.

Along with a strong social curriculum, one of the most important factors is who is designing and teaching the curriculum. During the academic year, teachers spend more time with children than their parents. If a child is in sports after school or on weekends, that is more time spent with another adult other than their parents. Teachers have the power to help students navigate through their toughest times and help foster in them the necessary tools it takes to be civil contributors to society.

Teachers hold the very pulse of the next generation in our hands, and it's important for us to bring this sense of urgency to what we teach and how we teach it. Though many stray from teaching because the pay is low and the stress is high, which is understandable, the classroom must be filled with people who stand up and speak out against injustice and will fuel that same passion in children. Teachers of color especially. The best lesson a child can receive is to experience a wonderful teacher who looks like the people society teaches them to hate.

Teaching is by far the ultimate form of resistance.

I pray for the day when I no longer have to write notes to myself on my lesson plans about how to shelter in place if there is an active shooter in my school. I pray for the day that my gender isn't seen as a sexual object but an equal and viable part of this society. I pray for the day that I don't have to hear my Black male students share strategies on what to do to not to get killed if they are pulled over by the police.

I believe that the voices of children will be the very thing that makes the change we all seek happen. However, this can't happen without the teacher at the forefront. With the right teachers and school leaders in place, the "someday" that civil rights activists sang about in "We Shall Overcome" could very well happen today.

xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at submissons@xonecole.com

Featured image by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

You know what? Sometimes, you've got to push a few coins aside and determine in your mind that you're going to invest into your sex life (if you had a sex jar, this would be easier to do, by the way. You can read more about what that is all about here). If you're someone who is totally down to do that, but you don't have a clue where to begin, boy have you come to the right place! Between the joy of being a writer who sometimes gets samples sent to me, the constant research that I do for the couples I work with and having folks shout-out certain items semi-often, I've compiled a list of 12 sex-related items that may seem random AF (a pun is kind of intended there) and, at the same time, can make sex so much better between you and your partner. Where's your pad at? You're definitely gonna wanna take note.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine about someone who once told me that they had an annual week-long summer rendezvous that lasted for over 15 years with someone else. Yep — this individual would meet up with another person who lived in a different state, solely to have sex for a week straight, and then return to their city as if nothing ever happened. According to them, the only reason why this ritual romp eventually came to an end is because the other person decided to get serious about someone else; however, it wasn't until it ended that the person who told me the story realized how attached they actually had become to their sex partner (a cautionary tale). After I completed my lil' tale, my friend simply said, "Oh, I do that s — t every cuffing season. There are some people who I only talk to around this time of year, we f — k around and then that's that until the season comes around again."

Keep reading... Show less

How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks about love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.

When it comes to sexuality, there have always been societal limitations centered on what is "acceptable." However, with more honest conversations about how fluid sexuality and sexual expression can be, now there are so many more opportunities for self-exploration and taking back ownership of our identities again. One couple that is living their truth and being sexual beings unapologetically while living and loving their lives are Jasmine Johnson and King Noire.

Keep reading... Show less

I'm so excited because one of my favorite unscripted shows is back. OWN's Ready to Love is a dating series that follows professionals over 30, looking for long-lasting relationships. Hosted by Nephew Tommy, it follows singles who desire true connections and are grouped together to find them.

Keep reading... Show less

Social media influencer and actress Tabitha Brown has garnered viral fame through her inspirational and vegan videos on Instagram, thanks to her cheerful personality and infectious smile. Now, she is entering a new phase in her life as an author. The 42-year-old released Feeding the Soul on Sept. 28 and recently shared an emotional video of herself after finding out her book was number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

Jill Scott Talks Balance, 'Highway To Heaven' & Not Burning Herself Out To Produce

In this exclusive, the actress dishes on executive producing the reboot, and balancing business and motherhood.

Latest Posts