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

On the way home I ran into one of my former students. Remembered his face, but not his name. He told me life is very hard for him. I asked him how old he was? He told me 22.

"Finish college?"

"No," he answered. "Quit high school. Got kicked out."

"Never thought to go back?"

"How? I want to, but I don't know what to do."

I told him about the GED and he said he would look into it, but only if I would tutor him. "You're the only teacher who ever taught me anything," he said.

It's interesting how you touch someone and never know it.

Once he told me his name, I remembered him. He struggled as a student, but he tried. Trying isn't always enough.

"Of course, we'll help you," I said using "we" on purpose because I knew it wasn't just me who would be able to help him, but all of us, all of us teachers at the school he remembered so fondly.

"I work for Avon now," he said. "In Morton Grove."

"That's good," I told him. "That's good."

When I walked away, I saw a penny on the ground heads up. I picked it up. Heads up! That means good luck for the rest of the day.


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