A Teacher's Day

The day in the life of an inner city large urban school district teacher after the high stakes testing ends and there is still three more months left before summer vacation.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

I have taught school for over thirty years always in the inner city and for the most part always upper grade students. I have two children and I have been married for twenty years.

Friday, March 31, 2006

It started. Yesterday afternoon when it was time for some students to go to incentive free gym, students who thought for no reason whatsoever that they deserved to go, became very loud when they discovered they were not going. One student took a paper with a grade of 60% and changed it to a 100%. Then he walked to the closet to get his coat.

"I'm going no matter what," he snarled. It was a real snarl. And then he cursed under his breath, not loudly, but loud enough.

"If you go," I said, "this will be the last gym class for anyone in this room."

Remember I made a rule about taking away field trips if someone walked out of the room? The rule was made for him.

We had a fight across the hall between two boys bigger than me. It took three men to break it up.

We had a child go into a cursing tantrum. The principal came to the room to retrieve him.

We had two boys go to the bathroom, see an empty room, grab a third boy who had walked out of his room, and together they knocked over desks and made a mess.

We had two boys wrestle in the hallway.

All of this on the second floor. All of this at my end of the hall. Two of the four incidents from members of my class.

The social studies teacher came to my room to hand back papers and the children began yelling at her even though they knew they had to write in complete sentences--and that means the first letter of the first word is capitalized and the sentence ends in a period.

Recess was canceled for three rooms because they could not get in line at the start of school.

The ISAT high stakes testing is over.

One teacher said, "When I teach all day, the class and I are winners. When it's like this, the community wins big time."

Three months to go.


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