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, October 13, 2006

The Nicest Class

I usually have to go to a student’s home the first day or two of school. I’ll be honest: I try very hard to get to a student’s home the first few days to set the mood for the school year. Inevitable someone gets three checks and so off I go walking them home.

This definitely sets the tone.

As a rule kids don’t want you walking them home to meet their parent because they are in trouble. Especially not the first day of school. But it does make a very powerful statement. And it works very well, too.

Not this year. I’ve only been to two houses since school started—two in six weeks. (And they were students from another classroom.) This has to be a record for me. I’m going to begin going for good news starting Monday, but I may go tonight. Haven’t really decided yet.

My class and I had some fun with sheep eyeballs yesterday. We discussed the culture around them, how some people pickle them and eat them as snacks and some of the children decided they had pits in them—like olives (I made that suggestion myself)—so it was a bit hard for them to make the leap and see them as the lens of the eyeball.

A few of the girls were scared at first, but then they got into it. (And I have to be truthful again—I had a lot of fun with their fears. Changing the configuration of the classroom, sitting next to them, etc., etc., etc.)

Our mold experiment is going very well, but our protist culture froze in the last few days. It’s close to 32 outside and the school’s boiler has not kicked in yet. (I had to allow the children to wear their coats inside and I’m wearing mine as I write this.) We’ll be looking for life forms in the soil specimen next week.

I’m putting out my dissection specimens today. A whole table dedicated to the materials we will be studying. I have brains and hearts and even half of a goat’s head.

This is how I always thought school should be—all of us engaged in learning, me not having to discipline so much, and everyday leaving the school knowing I have benefited from being there.



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