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, January 26, 2007


After my eighth grade science fair students took home the excellent—and not the superior which gets you a spot in the city competition—she apologized to me and explained that she was “stretched too thin.”

Stretched too thin?

In eighth grade?

And isn’t it just too cool she understands exactly what being “stretched too thin” means?

And, yes, she is stretched too thin. She represented the school in the science fair, the spelling bee, the oratory contest and the week of the science fair she participated in the essay contest. This on top of all of her homework, after school All Star activities, etc. etc. etc.

Did I tell you she’s a published poet? Did I tell you she always scores in the ninety percentile on standardized tests?

I had her last year, but this year I teach seventh grade. Nonetheless, she’s a frequent visitor to my class and beginning next week, I will be starting my test preparation classes—she will, of course, be a member. In her case, though, we’ll be learning how to evaluate data with a serious scientific calculator.

My school has a few students who are super—she, of course, is one of them.

There are times teachers make a difference in a life and there are times students make a difference in a life. This is one of those times.

Corporate world workers—envy me. I have worked with the best and I’m seldom bored.


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