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, March 26, 2007


The ISAT test ended on Friday. That’s the day we held our make up tests. I’ve been writing incidents in second person, but I know those of you who read this—and I’m not sure anyone does—know the second person narrator was me. I don’t think I really liked second person that much so I’m going to go back to first.

It’s been a year now since I started this blog and I don’t know how many people read it. I guess here’s where I ask for feedback. You can use the comment button and I’ll definitely read it. (I even published the strange rant from a Dorothy Tillman supporter, though I’m fairly positive she will not win in the run off even if Obama endorsed her—and that can be a very powerful reason for me to reconsider how I feel about his candidacy.)

Anyway it’s Friday after school and it’s dismissal time and everything is going smoothly until a group of students congregate near the corner and I hear them so I walk up to them. There’s a security guard with me and I’m not even the least bit concerned.

“We’ll fight across the street. It’s out of bounds for the school. Nobody can do anything to us,” one of the students who wants to fight says.

“They’re getting ready to fight,” I tell the security guard and she nods her head and tells me not to worry. They’re taking it across the street. It’s not our problem anymore.

Twenty students cross the street with one of the boys, giving him support, egging him on. His opponent also has his fair share of supporters. They, too, are talking loud, offering help, acting big and bad.

I, of course, cross the street with them.

The bigger boy removes his coat. “I’m ready,” he says and then he sees me. “Why are you here?”

“I want to see the fight.”

“But you can’t suspend us. We’re off the school’s property.”

“No,” I answer. “Wherever I stand, the school’s boundary goes all around me.”

“We’ll fight someplace else then.”

So I follow them. Of course, by this time you know I’m following them by myself. We go down the street, we go down an alley, and we go by the park.

“You know,” I say, “I’m still not understanding why you need to fight?”

“He got me suspended.”

So I tell him we’ll just go back to the school to see about it and with those few words the fight is over. Oh, a squad car with siren blazing nears me after we leave the alley. Students are yelling police, police, police. Students are running. I just tell the officer to take a drive through the alley and everything should be OK.

The boy did not get out of his suspension. Seems he did so many things that day and was sent to the office so many times there was no way around it. Isn't it curious how the last thing you think you did not do is the only reason why some kind of bad consequence happens to you?

As for the other security guard and other men outside during dismissal? You have to let us know, they said. We didn’t know what was going on until the police showed up.

I thought the first security guard might have told somebody. Guess not.

Happy birthday to this blog even if I’m about a week late.


Blogger Shari said...

I do read your blog and enjoy it. Thanks for sharing what happend in inner city schools.

2:18 PM  

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