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, May 05, 2006

After A Bad Day

Thursday was much better. I actually felt like a teacher again. Not a disciplinarian. Not a tyrant. Not a--well, you get the point. For the most part, both of my classes were on task and settled back into the routine of learning. I got these great graphic novels from Jim Laake (and I'm trying to get one of my grantors to fund the purchase of class sets for my entire room). The class seemed to like them except for my new student who didn't even give it a try. But this child is brilliant. When he tells me what's bothering him, he'll come around. (My seventh grade class read individual books for almost fifty minutes in silence--that's how engaged they were.) I went to my new student's house yesterday, and he changed a bit, but he didn't do any work and at the end of the day when he wasn't picked for free gym (a reward for students who get it together during the week), he decided to walk out. So I went to his house again.

Let's see what changes.

We started our black walnut experiment. We finished our Poetry Month with fantastic essays and poems. We finished our owl pellet study. We got deeper into our research on Africa history from 900AD to 1500AD. At the end of the day I had a large group stay after school to work on it some more.

Maybe I'm jinxing myself, but everything is starting to flow perfectly again. Teachers even came to support me for my statements at the meeting and the administration is now starting to lean towards my side. I'm not for retention. I've even written about it. But enough is enough. I feel the culture of the school is at risk. I want it to be known I feel seventh graders should be allowed to fail if all other efforts to help them do not work. And I've offered this student numerous alternatives and assistance to make sure she passes.


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