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 12, 2007


You hear the commotion in the sixth grade classroom five doors from your room. Your class is hard at work dissecting a poem for its inner meaning, but the noise is too sudden and way too loud.

You run to the room of the sixty-five year old woman sixth grade teacher. She has one of her girls backed up in the corner. The girl is strong and trying to break loose, but the teacher is stronger. Teaching in the inner city makes you strong.

You move to the teacher and past her and to the girl and you hug her as hard as you can. She is a skinny girl, tall and awkward, and she is crying angry tears and she is very mad. You hug her harder and her hands sail into the air uselessly. They do not know what to do.

In the hall you offer her a place in your classroom. This is what you do. You always take in the troubled youngsters. You don’t let go. You hold her wrist now, you turn her towards you, and you offer again.

She wants to finish what someone else has started. You cannot allow this to happen. The sixty-five year old sixth grade woman teacher is not even out of breath, but you, younger, are feeling the first beads of sweat.

Soon others are on the scene and they take the girl from you. She is no longer crying. She is just angry now, full of madness and wants to curse, but holds her words still, in her mouth, like the pit of a peach. This is OK. You flex you’re arms and shake off the strain of your muscles. Teaching makes you strong.


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