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.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


We’re on day three of the ISAT standardized tests. Yesterday we did the extended response and I felt fairly good about how well my class is doing so far. The test seems quite easy and the writing prompt was not difficult at all.

Nonetheless, there are still issues in the building. Student attitudes that bubble over and cause chaos, angry teachers, and other little things.

So you’re standing at the south exit of the school because you heard through the rumor mill there was going to be a fight and sure enough, the fighters come out because they really want to fight. But first they have to gain some courage and have some spectators—cause there’s never a need to fight when you’re not truly evil unless you have an audience.

You break it up when it’s obvious the crowd is filling in to make sure there is a fight. You step in—because you are the only one pout there at this door (even though two security personnel and three teacher aides are outside too)—and you put an end to it.

Or you think you ended it.

The next thing you know one of the boys is peeling off his uniform shirt and his sport’s jersey—it’s expensive, you know (the sport’s jersey, I mean)—and he’s half naked. There’s going to be some kind of problem here so you step in again and you restrain him, and it’s not easy because you’re a teacher, not an athlete, and it becomes even harder when another boy steps up to bat and tries to get you to take your hands off the boy you are restraining.

Then one security man comes in and it’s not too long after that that the entire affair is put to rest. It’s just that you can’t forgive the boy who put his hands on you to try to stop the fight. But his mother’s picking him up right now. A hundred-fifty yards away. He’s getting in the car. You can do this. You’re a teacher. And you run to the car and you’re not even out of breath and the mother looks at her son and you can tell she is no longer just angry—she’s past anger.

One hundred-fifty yards. Not bad. That’s why teachers are strong.

My class—integrating mathematics with science—ended yesterday. I did my final presentation. Final grade: 595 points out of 600, but who’s bragging.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the test was fairly easy, too. The last session's extended response wasn't so bad, but the reading was harder.

2:17 PM  

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