Parent conversation- Code Switching

Seana Wright

“Mrs. Jones, Let’s talk about your son Johnny”
Listen here lady, Ima ’bout to give you the skinny about your son. He’s special.
“I’m concerned about his lack of attention during class”
You told me you took drugs years ago. Is he a drug baby?
“At times, he has difficulty listening long enough while I explain multiple-step math problems.”
He listens five seconds then looks around for classmates to laugh with.
“He talks too much to classmates especially during individual work time.”
I want to say “shut up and let them work, don’t you notice they’re quiet?”
“Yes, mom I can send some extra work home but that’s not necessarily going to help.”
You’ve got 3 kids younger than him. Worksheets aren’t babysitters!
“I know you say he reads books at home and reads the dictionary daily but he doesn’t do that here.”
Stop lying. He’s two grade levels behind and has been in reading intervention for 3 years.
“Your son needs more time and help so that’s why I’m bringing up the subject of retention again.”
Sign this paper right now so we can get your baby some help. You should’ve done this when the three previous teachers asked but you kept saying you’d work with him at home. You can’t do that because you’re not a teacher!!!


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Bridge the Distance: An Oral History of COVID-19 in Poems Copyright © 2021 by Seana Wright is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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