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.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Friday, the day before our two week vacation, and it's raining outside and though I'm not planning a party, I do have enough games to keep us occupied after we do some school work. I mean this is a school.

And my class complains. Everyone is having a party. (Only three classes are.) Everyone is having a movie day. (We only have two TVs in the entire school, but, yes, two classes have doubled up to watch movies all day and another class is watching HOME ALONE over and over again.) We should have freetime. (This is much harder. On and off most classrooms are having bits and pieces of freetime. I have planned for freetime too.)

They don't know we will be having a game day after we finish our reading, listening, writing, science and homework for the vacation lessons. (I gave each child from both seventh grade classes a brand new book they can keep forever, but they must do a book report on it due the day we come back. So I gues it's not really a gift cause it has strings attached to it. But it's still sort of nice. Most of my students are thrilled. They really want a book. Parents take note.)

Nike is bringing gym shoes and socks and a Nike hat to the gym and when they call my class, we will get all of these things too. (And so my class complains about this also.)

So what do I do? It's ten-twenty and it's raining outside and the moans and groans are getting louder. I line them up. Now they're excited. Are we getting our shoes? Are we going to gym? Nope. I'm taking them to the front of the school so we can read the sign.

Someone please read the sign outside to me.

______ School, one of them says.

Not __________ Party Place? Not _________ Gym? Not ________ Free Time All Day Academy?

No, they answer, and I think most of them get it, so we go back upstairs.

This is School School. Even on the day before our vacation. Time for the essay lesson. And we do it. And most of my students do it very well.

Thanks for reading.

Have a healthy and prosperous holiday.


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