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, April 28, 2006

A Rock and a Window

Thursday. The day began with a quiet nice. No incidents on the playgroud before school. No problems in the hallways. Classrooms filled and there were no problems there either.

We analysed poetry and interpreted an essay. Then we finished the owl pellet experiment. I had written a grant to DonorsChoose and they funded it. The actual owl pellets came from Nasco, the only science supply house I really like to use. Lori Wintlend of Nasco has just been an incredible asset to me through the years as I write grants and order items. (You should know that when I find someone who is helpful and willing to work out the kinks and make my life easier, I become very loyal to them. Since Lori works for Nasco, I shop with Nasco.)

The experiment went very well. Chris from the University of Chicago came in and assisted. One of my students did say the owl pellets smelled, and everyone at her table agreed, but when others reported they did not smell anything, they stopped complaining. Another student complained about itching suddenly and four others started scratching, but once again this stopped when others did not join in.

Peer pressure can be a powerful incentive.

Each group found the pieces for a complete skeleton of a vole in their pellet. Working together they placed the bones on a skeleton worksheet. Then we graphed the health of the habitat, wrote thank you letters to the donor and went to lunch.

Easy day.

And then--someone climbed over the small fence at the side of the school. I don't know where he got it from, but he was holding a very large and heavy rock. (It must have weighed twenty-five pounds. I lifted it.) He came to the window and threw the rock straight through. Glass shattered everywhere.

This is the sad part. There was a witness who could identify the boy. But she didn't. She told the police she could not do that. She did not want them to come back and intimidate her.

This is the sad part. The boy joined his three friends and they just walked down the street as if nothing at all had happened. Another person still in the school said, "I'd go and drive to where they are, but I don't want them coming back later to break my windshield."

This is the sad part. One of the janitors went outside and tracked them with his eyes for about a block. When the police came, they were still strolling down the sidewalk. None of the witnesses wanted to get in the police car and identify them.

Here is the good part. The police turned right instead of left. With the description they had, they actually went in the direction of the boys to see if they could track them down.

I went home.

It was already 7:30 PM.


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