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, July 14, 2006

The First Meeting of The Ash Street Block Club Association

Six people arrived on the porch at 6:00 PM. We discussed how to make the neighborhood safer and how we could be more proactive. I read the comments other residents had told me—you can see them on an earlier blog—and then I was requested to go and invite the college boys who lived on the corner and continued to peek out at us, but did not come.

When I knocked on their door, they said they were visiting or only living there for a short period and they did not want to get involved or did not know if they should get involved and…will, you know how this goes. (And these were the same individuals who were so fired up when I invited them to the meeting. I guess I should let you know, I have been delegated to go to them and introduce them to the lady they feel most angry with. I’ll be doing that later today. Stay tuned.)

Back at the meeting, we discussed the adult living in the house that allows the gang banger wannabees on her porch. Is she a victim? The consensus is that the parent has no clue what is going on at all and that is why she allows the activity.

Representatives from one of the business’s came as well as one resident. The rest were owners living in their home. We drafted three rules: Parties for adults have to be under control and inside by 1:00 AM. Parties for juveniles have to be in constant control by an adult and inside by midnight. All of the neighbors deserve the courtesy of knowing when a party will occur. Parents should understand they are responsible for both their children and their children's friends.

It was a good meeting, nice and easy, no tension, everyone in agreement. Near its close a car drove by, a young man in the backseat rolled down his window and said, "Corner Boys.” Not loud at all. Then the car hurried off. It was almost funny.

After the meeting ended, I was sitting on the porch when the same car came back going in the opposite direction. Once again the rear window came down and once again the same boy said, “Corner Boys.” This time I laughed aloud.

Some gang. Too scared now to even yell out who they are.

So what did my family and I do after dark? We took a stroll down Cherry Street, slow and quiet, right down the block where the Corner Boyz now hang out. At the corner we stopped and discussed the three houses for sale. No one on any porch confronted us. The only assault to our ears was a loud radio.

I guess we are winning the war on gangs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Change all starts with one person. You must be the one for 324 Ash Street neighborhood.
One fact may be that some of the others have or had no clue, guts or nerves to do anything else but exist. You are teaching them how to be citzens, how democracy is suppose to work, how getting involved works.

What a story in the making!


8:27 PM  

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