According to Wikipedia (not my favorite source but appropriate for the context of this blog), Karen is referred as “a common stereotype that of a racist white woman who uses her privilege to demand her own way at the expense of others.” Recently we have seen an increase in the Karen’s who are known for calling the cops on black men and women unnecessarily. We have seen it all from calls about stealing parking spots, words exchanged outside of stores, and even being asked to put on a mask during a global pandemic.This “Karen” calls the police believing that when they arrive, they will believe her, take her side, and arrest the person of color simply because she is a white woman. Privilege at its worst. These Karen’s are entitled, obnoxious, and look down upon black people. They believe they are better than others, especially black people and others of color, and aren’t afraid to say so.
But what about those Karen’s who work in schools with our children? It would be offensive in a time like today to not address such Karen’s. Believe me there are many different types of Karen’s. So let’s talk about a couple of them.
The most blatant and obvious Karen is the teacher who doesn’t find value in getting to know their students. So what happens is when a student acts out, the teacher, instead of communicating with the student, kicks the student out. They call the dean, assistant principal or safety officer to come have the child removed for an act that could’ve been a discussion or a conversation. They over exaggerate situations that happen inside of the classroom when reporting, knowing that if a student, who was white, exhibited those same behaviors, the response would surely have been different. These Karens are dangerous because their behaviors tell our children that they are not worth a conversation. Their behaviors, the haste to kick a student out, tell our children that their presence does not add value to the classroom. These Karens are dangerous because their lack of desire to understand our children’s behaviors push our children out of school and into the streets. Oh hey Karen, WE SEE YOU.
Or how about the Karen who believes that she’s the judge and jury in every situation? The one who wants to make sure “justice is served.” Not realizing that justice, when it comes to children, is changed behavior and learned lessons, not retaliation and punitive punishment. The Karen who always insert themselves into the conversation overtly negative and talking about the “troubled” kids. The Karen who has so many opinions on what the best solution is. The Karen who believes the student should be suspended for every infraction, even the ones they too committed as a child. Oh hey Karen, WE SEE YOU.
How about the Karen whose classroom is a one size fits all model. The one who has no intention of differentiating their lessons for the students below grade level, resulting in those students receiving failing grade after failing grade. The one who then blames that failure on the parents’ “lack of involvement,” or lack of “care and concern” for their child. The same Karen who is never available to help her students outside of normal class hours, but wonders why their students aren’t successful. Oh hey Karen, WE SEE YOU.
Or the Karen that, from the moment your child walked into the classroom, knew they weren’t going to be successful. The Karen who had the idea that children who come in below grade level cannot rise to the occasion and excel. So they lower the standards and expectations of the student, rather than pushing them to meet and exceed the challenges before them. Oh hey Karen, WE SEE YOU.
Lastly, the Karen who doesn’t believe students’ home lives affect their ability to be the “productive student” during school hours. How naive you are! Believing that when children walk into the building their problems just disappear. The ones who believe our students are “just kids” and don’t deal with real life issues. The ones who, if they took the time to get to know their students, would learn that some come from emotionally abusive environments, live in poverty, share rooms with multiple siblings, or have no adult they can safely confide in. But you’re harassing them about their incomplete homework. Really?
Oh hey Karen! WE SEE YOU! And to be honest, you don’t belong in our schools. Our children deserve the very best! And that includes someone who looks past their flaws and/or deficiencies, meets them at their level and pushes them beyond their wildest dreams. They deserve someone who sees poor behaviors and helps them to learn how to consistently make better decisions. They deserve someone who is all about seeing them prosper and be successful. And Karen, THAT AIN’T YOU!
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