Stories from the Field
Edited By David J. Connor and Beth A. Ferri
13. Surprising Home Visits
I remember the day Ms. Colby*1 came to visit my house. My mother was in her house gown when we heard the knock on the window. We lived in a townhome community in Carol City, Florida, and used iron bars to both decorate and secure our home. Mami opened the wood and iron doors and let a woman who I eventually realized was one of my middle school teachers into the house.
I was flabbergasted.
During my childhood, regardless of their performance during the academic year, many students in Miami Dade County Public Schools attended summer school; I participated each year. Overall, summer school was much like the regular school year, except that sometimes students from other schools would come together in one building, and we had a shorter bell schedule.
In 1994, I was assigned to Ms. Colby’s seventh grade English class. She had developed a reputation for being a difficult teacher and a tough grader. My peers complained that she was mean. I was wary during the first days of classes, but soon came to a different interpretation of Ms. Colby’s teaching style. Sure, she would get frazzled if students were chatty, but overall, she was harmless. She was a kind, older Black woman who loved to tell stories about her family and childhood. Perhaps it was because my parents were senior citizens, or because of the similarities in the communication styles that the older Afro-Latina2 women...
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