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.

Monday, January 08, 2007


January 8th, 2007. First day back after a two week very nice vacation. I drove to work and even the traffic wasn’t that bad. (Nonetheless I’ll be on the train tomorrow—easier to get more things done.)

OK—so I’m hoping we have a new beginning here. No violence. No fighting. All of the teachers present the first day back. All of the students ready to learn. Everyone in a Viet Nam frame of reference. (Read the previous blogs—The Man from Viet Nam.)

I’m ready. I brought roller skates to demonstrate concepts in physics (potential and kinetic energy, friction, and when I fall, gravity) and a number of musical instruments (to demonstrate sound waves, vibration, pitch, etc.) I may even use some tuning forks. Haven’t decided yet.

We’re going to continue reading Sandra Cisneros’s House on Mango Street and do a quick write on what we remember about Charles Dickens Christmas Carol. We’re going to start our functional reading time and our research time and our contest to see which room has the best comprehension in science—though last year’s class (the seventh grade class next door) should have an advantage because most of them did the book last year. (Today my colleague begins teaching science, too, with the General Science books—the best science books I know.)

I believe her teaching out of the General Science books and me working on experiments and comprehension through contests that our students earned a 97.5% on the science portion of the Illinois standardized test, the ISAT.

Anyway I’m looking forward to a great year.

(On other note: Coming into the school today another teacher, the janitor, an office clerk and I had to put chairs on an area in the front of the school. Someone broke out the window yesterday evening—or so they think—and there was glass everywhere. Oh, well. Not a promising start but the fact that we worked together—at 7AM no less (and hour and a half before anyone else arrived)—to get the glass up and away before the students arrived is really a very big deal. If we begin the year caring, we’ll get through it with flying colors.

Happy New Year. May this one bring prosperity, good health, and a lifetime of learning.


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