This week I was acting principal at a school I support. I had an awesome time connecting and chatting with the students. But something magical happened. When one of the Black Male students passed by me, I stopped him and said “What’s up young brother? I love your hair!” The young brother lit up like a Christmas tree. I then asked him how did he accomplish the twist being so smooth? He emphatically began to explain the process.
After his first sentence, I stopped him immediately and said I don’t want you to tell me I want you to send it to me in an email. However, I’m looking for correct punctuation, use of vocabulary, I want it to flow, and at each step I want you to begin another paragraph. The kid was excited. Before the class period ended, I had the paper. He met me in the hall after class and asked did I get the email? I responded yes. He then asked me what would his grade be if I graded it? I said a C. He was agitated and asked me what was wrong? I told him to go find the errors and resubmit. He did and made a B.
I continued this process throughout the day with 11 more boys and at the end of the day had 13 papers (11+ 1 paper + 1 revision). The next day every boy approached me about the email. I told each of them that the paper was AIGHT and they needed to revise it if they wanted an A. They then asked was it a real grade? I responded yes. In two days I had 24 papers (12 papers with 12 revisions).
While driving home I was reminded of a few things during this experience:
1.) I hooked them in with a compliment on something they’re usually ridiculed for.
2.) I was genuinely interested in something they were interested in.
3.) The assignment was on something culturally relevant.
The intellectual capacity is within our boys, we just have to give rise to it. During this task, education was transformed into an experience instead of an assignment. ~ Dr. J