“I then told them that they had to look upon themselves in a different light, that they had to be convinced of their basic worth, and that they could learn just as fast as anyone else”.
The students that sat in front of Conroy were uneducated. They couldn’t write their names, recited the alphabet, compute simple math problems, and some could barely talk so that you could understand them. They knew nothing about the outside world or that it even existed because no one took the time to teach them these things. It’s like they were sitting in a learning facility with no one to facilitate their learning. This wasn’t acceptable to Conroy. He was determined to teach these kids something because they had a right to learn just as much as the next kid. The way that Conroy began teaching these students may have been a bit odd because Mrs. Brown didn’t approve of his tactics and they didn’t seem to correlate with what little bit of information they did know. He began introducing the students to Fifties music on his record player. Of course be he began they didn’t know any of it and when he would tell them the artist they would pronounce it wrong. But instead of correcting them he would say it the same way they did so they would know what he was talking about. They learned all the songs on the record and were able to call out the title and the artist. They may not have been learning about math and reading but learning was definitely going on in this classroom. He also made them listen to the news every morning and wherever the news came from he would go to the map and show them where it was located because these students had no idea how to read a map. Conroy was able to do something for these students that it seemed no one else would do…he taught them something!