Straight Dope Excerpt: Andrea, Teacher

Posted: July 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

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Andrea, 36
Caucasian, straight to the point, teacher

I feel that we need to stop treating kids
like babies because they know a lot more
than we think they do.

I don’t know how to bullshit, never learned. I have been teaching for nine years, and it’ll be ten years if I can get a job (laughs). I taught in Chicago for five years and out in San Diego for four years. I have a Masters in Reading Specialist, but I never had a position that validated it. I have worked in charter schools and public schools.

There are parents that come into report card meetings clearly high or reeking of alcohol. I have had a lot of kids that were crack babies and have been taken away from their parents because of drugs. Things like that I have dealt with. Some of the kids who had graduated to the sixth grade are friends with me on Facebook, and they have a marijuana leaf on their pages. Sometimes I don’t know if they are trying to be cool or if they are smoking it. They know all about it so………

One of the reasons why I think kids know so much about drugs at that age is music, TV, and the media in general. (points to the TV playing Wiz Khalifa’s Black and Yellow music video) Wiz Khalifa (laughs) being a great example. I think that is a huge portion of it and everyone in their neighborhood, it’s the same thing you know?

Maybe the kid who are not graduating are hanging out in the streets listening to that type of music, thinking that it is cool. They see their family members, cousins doing it then it must be okay. A lot of peer pressure? Oh yeah.

A lot of times with the drugs in the home, there are a lot of mental issues that go along with it such as anger management. For other kids, the parents are not around to fulfill their educational needs or their emotional needs. They can’t even have a house clean, so when they go to school with dirty clothes, it definitely affects them.

To date, I have not encountered a kid that has said, “I have tried A,B,C,” you know. But then again, this is my first year teaching fifth grade. Recently I went back to Chicago to visit and I checked on some of my former students in the eleventh grade. I definitely think they are curious about getting high.

Do you think that it is the school’s responsibility to sway kids
away from drugs?

Yes and No. I don’t think that we should promote drug use. But I will be honest and say I feel hypocritical and say don’t do it (sighs). I just think that they should wait until they are older to experiment. So yeah I do think that we do need to tell kids not to do it. I mean we are raising them basically. We are with them more than there parents are sometimes, so it is partially our responsibility. We have a zero tolerance stance on drugs, but last month a kid brought a bullet to school and nothing happened so (laughs).

I am definitely weirded out by the legalization of marijuana. I’m for it but… it’s, I don’t know. I mean I have smoked pot before, many of times, but I wouldn’t consider myself a pot head (we both laugh), but I don’t think any one would (laughs). I don’t think legal marijuana is a bad thing. There are a lot of great use for it and when used properly, there is nothing wrong with it. When used as a recreational drug or for medicinal purposes, it’s fine.

I feel that we need to stop treating kids like babies because they know a lot more than we think they do. I had a first grader in Chicago tell me that his Mom had a pile of white stuff on the table, and that she would have friends come over. He never touched it though. I thought that this was something that I could call Child Protective Services on but they could not do anything. There was nothing to investigate because he did not get into it. So I think by keeping it real with them, showing them what everything is…. I remember growing up and seeing all the videos of people getting super sick off of heroin and it scared me. It made me not want to do drugs. By showing real crackheads, I think kids need to see it. They need to be introduced to people who have been there, who are still using. Kind of like the Scared Straight thing from prison. Also, I think that they need to know that drugs and alcohol are an escape from reality, and that they would have to deal with their problems sooner or later. That connection should be brought into it.

For more, pick up, “Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture at Amazon.com NOW!

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