Don't Try To Save Me...Just Understand Me!
There are current educators who believe that they have been purposed to save children in our schools, particularly those in the inner city. (And I know this from personal experience after talking with some novice teachers). It is their belief that by taking this job in the urban area and working to get the students to read, write and do math with fidelity, they can save them from their current state - impoverished and underprivileged. Point of clarity here ... not every child, minority or not, attending a school in the inner city is impoverished or underprivileged - a blatant misconception and stereotype. Their efforts to "save" these students actually become a detriment for the student and their academic development. These teachers try to "save" by lessening work load and lowering expectations for the students. These teachers feel that they are actually helping because their "troubled" students have too much to handle and need to be accommodated.
However, accommodating does not mean cripple them. Students who are faced with serious societal ills that clearly impact their social and emotional being are definitely in need of support. Yet this support that they need does not include being sympathetic to their plight. The students do not want your sympathy. They just need for you to understand what they are going through and the challenges they face daily. They don't need or want to be patronized by you, the teacher. They need you, the teacher or administrator, to listen, understand and help to come up with solutions that will help them work through the challenges. You feeling sorry for the students is nothing but a constant reminder of their reality, of which they are well aware.
They don't need that thrown in their faces daily. They don't want to be ostracized or treated differently. They want to be seen as equal to the peers, treated fairly and taught with enthusiasm and rigor.
Although the student may struggle and need much support to get through the daily grind of a school day, they appreciate the challenges and the understanding. They never asked you to be their superhero..... just their teacher who understands and respects them as a student.