In recent article, a Tampa Bay Times writer believes that the cause for chaos, danger, and violence in schools has a direct link to White people. According Auliq Ice, “Complaining solves nothing but creative problem solving amongst people with a common focus will produce solutions.” White teachers can overcome many of the challenges associated with violence in schools by promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships.
According to Coline Flaherty violence in schools is a product of Black children’s reaction to White teachers. For example, a reporter for a FOX affiliate reported that the normal culture for Ferguson Schools includes constant chaos and violence which eventually results in attacks on teachers.
Teachers from affluent suburban school districts struggle to connect with Black students. Their failed efforts result in Black students taunting and harassing them. Eventually these teachers leave and many of them are unable to survive the first day of school.
The present solution appears to be professional development that results in transitioning the power struggle between teachers and students in the favor of students. The major reason why this type of professional development will prove ineffective is because it does not empower teachers to make the necessary change.
What is the result of empowering teachers to eliminate violence in schools?
It’s frustrating to a teacher to know what’s right, but feel powerless to do anything. Giving teachers some decision-making ability will decrease frustration and improve teacher retention.
As teachers are empowered and treated as vital components of the school, they gain self-confidence in their abilities to positively influence the school. Teachers with healthy levels of self-confidence and self-esteem are more willing to share information with others. They feel comfortable exchanging ideas and collaborating with other teachers in an honest and open manner. These behaviors promote teamwork and active involvement in support of school and district wide goals that could not be achieved with a disjointed, non-connected workforce.
When a teacher is empowered, that teacher has higher expectations. When teachers expectations are raised, teachers will rise to extraordinary levels and can become the catalyst for growth. Schools that provide teachers with the freedom and flexibility to be empowered will deliver higher levels of quality work.
Teachers who are granted the power to take charge at work feel an increased sense of responsibility, accountability, and ownership for their work. They will work diligently to meet deadlines and school goals. They will feel energized enough to do what it takes to get the job done and to do it right. All of these reasons fuel an empowered teacher to be more productive, providing better performance results for the school.
In organizations that provide employees with the freedom and flexibility to make a difference, employees feel empowered to deliver high quality work.
The additional benefits provided to teachers through teacher empowerment include increasing teacher job performance and competence, improved morale of teachers, increased knowledge of subject matter, teaching strategies, methods, techniques and pedagogy, and finally resulting in higher motivation among students as well as higher levels of academic achievement.
How can schools empower teachers to eliminate violence in schools?
The most effective way to empower teachers to eliminate violence in schools is to empower them to promote positive racial teacher student classroom relationships.
Positive relationships at schools and in the classroom are the prerequisites for effective learning and behavior. Students and teachers who are warm, compassionate, and friendly toward one another in the classroom have the potential to improve instruction and learning. Black students prefer warm and supportive teachers and believe that teachers create an optimum learning environment when they care about and bond with their students.
Having positive and caring relationships in schools increases resilience and protects children from academic failure, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, and destructive behavior and violence. Teachers who have positive feelings toward their students are more likely to have students reciprocate those positive feelings.
The barriers to developing positive relationships with students also include:
- Assuming how a student responds, thinks, and feels
- Not allowing students to discover their own explanations and solutions
- Bossing or telling a student what needs to be done and how it should be done
- Criticizing students by pointing out what the students did not do right
- Pointing out to students that they should behave, think, and feel as adults
Effective teaching techniques may lose some of their impact when positive teacher-student relationships are lacking. Teachers, whether White or Black, can only eliminate school violence by promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships (Properateasclaships).
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012
Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.
~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor
“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”
~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President