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.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tuesday's test went smooth as ever. The seventh graders had two parts. The sixth graders took their test in the school lunchroom and then spent over an hour in the gym with free time.

After lunch, I had to test 211 on science. My class went to 211 for math. They go there anyway on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The assistant principal told them after lunch they could have free time. When students are telling me 25% of 100 is 28%, I think they need all the math they can get. By sixth/seventh grade all of the students should have some understanding of perimeter, area and congruence. Many of my students do not.

Free time is not an option when we are supposed to go to math.

So instead of sitting down and getting ready for instruction, I had to watch one girl stamp her feet up and down a few times while she whined loudly, "We never get to do anything." Then I had to listen to some of my sixth grade boys complain, "Why do we have to pick up this mess?" (The mess they themselves created.) Of course, one boy just had to say, "I'm not going to math and no one can make me."

Sometimes you have to snap. I asked which was more important--gym or math?

Dumb question.

You already know the answer.

The assistant principal walked in and told the child he was going to go to math no matter what. (I guess she heard him when she was by the door.) You would think he would have straightened up and started acting right. No way. He frowned, turned his back on her, and when she asked him to come to her, he told her he could do what he wanted.

She snapped too. She explained how important it was for the testing to go on, how she was the adult and he was the child, and finally she told him he wasn't that big of a person that he could afford to show off in front of everyone.

He looked at her finally, but did not say a thing. Then he turned his back on her and went to his seat.

Ten minutes later 211 was in my room and 209 was next door.

Tomorrow we take the last math test on the ISAT and the last part of the science test. The first part was easy, or so most of my students said. Here's hoping tomorrow's test is just as easy.


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