This week my teachers returned and we went on a field trip to view the community we serve and went into the complex where many our students reside. While at the community center, I was talking to a few boys about school. I love talking with kids because they’re brutally honest. The younger the child the, the more honest they’ll be.

While chatting, one of the boys said everybody is excited that school is about to start, but that just means it is time to shut up and be quiet. At this time, the boys started to engage in some interesting dialogue. Man you can’t even talk at school stated one of the boys. Somebody is always telling you to shut up or be quiet!! That’s why we run like wild animals for recess and P.E. What you talkin bout bruh and stop talking so loud, said one of the boys. Oh ooooo wait, Man Man might be talking some real stuff. Think about it. You get on the bus the bus driver tells you to shut and be quiet, if it get too loud in the cafeteria shut up and be quiet you’re on silent lunch, enter your classroom you’re told to shut up and be quiet, and begin your sponge activities. Hey bruh don’t forget about all the signs in the hall that say quiet zone or no talking zone. Yeah man I hate those said another boy.

At this point, the dialogue started focusing on the system. Man we learn all those sight words, spelling words, and have to use them in a sentence for homework and on a test, but never get a chance to use the words in a sentence with your friends at school because you always have to shut up and be quiet. It was here the little 5 year old jumped in and said my teacher want me to put my hand on my hip and my finger on my lip. Man we look stupid walking down the hall. I always get in trouble because I don’t do the hip part. My behavior always be yellow or red (another commonly used practice in kindergarten that has a negative effect on the child). I always get in trouble at home for having a yellow or red I never get a green.

Finally, the last lil boy stated man I got in trouble because the two times I knew the answer I yelled out the answer and got sent to the office. The first time, I got excited she gave me a warning, but I got super excited because the next question she asked I knew that answer too. That was the first time all year that I knew two answers in one day. Man that’s messed up bruh. Man my teacher pulls a popsicle stick with my name on it and ask me to read, and she know I can’t read, but I get in trouble for yelling out a correct answer or trying to use one of those words I was taught in a sentence in the hall. It almost feel like we’re in jail at times.

Many districts have started school already, some in the next few weeks, with everyone in school after labor day. Most of our students enter school malnutrition as it relates to their vocabulary (30 million word gap in some communities) and have no communication skills other than the slang and profanity they’re accustomed to in their communities. They come to school to be nurtured and fed, but most schools are subconsciously participating in hindering their growth. If you don’t believe me read this again and listen to these boys discussion.