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.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


How mundane.

Bathroom time.

When I first arrived at the school where I presently teach, I was pleasantly surprised to see doors on the bathroom stalls, Before then, every inner city school where I taught or visited did not have doors on the stalls.


A bunch of excuses were always offered. Fighting. Vandalism. Flooding the bathroom floor.


In my school, no one is allowed in the halls until our ninety minute reading block has ended. At 10:30 I know exactly which three boys and one girl will have to go to the bathroom. One by one I offer them the pass.

Last week I let two boys go to the bathroom together. One of them--a very quiet student who has an incredible wish to belong--poured a chemical on the floor and another chemical on his shoes and started a fire.

He thought the chemical on his shoes would stop the flames from burning them. It did not happen. Fortunately, an adult was nearby and the fire was put out quickly before anyone could be hurt. Only the shoes were messed up.

I hate taking older children to the bathroom. The girls use it as gossip time--and we do have a brief free time after lunch in my classroom--and the boys, well, it depends on their moods. Why is it I have to stand in the boy's bathroom and a woman teacher has to monitor the girls?

But now we're into peer pressure. That's a million word blog by itself.



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