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.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


OK. First, here comes Stanley who purchased the shorts for the game—and he gives me extra large. (I didn’t think I was over weight, but I’m starting my diet tomorrow—or probably sometime next week.) I purchased new shoes a week ago just for the game. Sox came courtesy of Nike—a company that suddenly remembered us (see previous blog about Nike).

So I changed in my classroom and made my entrance three minutes into the first quarter, my shirt tucked into the shorts. Nothing like walking into a game and not warming up.

(I pulled my t-shirt out a few minutes later. Why didn’t any teacher tell me they were supposed to be worn outside of the shorts?)

And I made my grand entrance. Every student lined up against the wall threw out his/her hand and we did that thing you always see with Jay Leno—I must have smacked fifty hands before I made it to where my team was seated.

I played for one minute in the first quarter, or rather I should say, I ran up and down the field wide open the entire time for one minute. Good exercise.

Second quarter came and I played for two minutes. Didn’t even get close to the ball, but I think—though I’m not sure—that I was able to stay on my man—an eighth grader who was much quicker and better than me. Anyway, he only got one shot off and, of course, it went in.

Third quarter I got a chance to handle the ball. Finally. It went out of bounds and I was the one who passed it back in. Again, wide open, students and parents started yelling, “Brownstein’s open! Brownstein’s open!”—but all I did was run back and forth—and, of course, look good.

Meanwhile the eighth grade teacher was hot. She was shooting from all angles, hitting the basket sixty percent of the time, racking up the points and the security guy was going “Bam! Bam!” every time he took a shot ‘cause he was our star.

We were losing so they let me in for the last five minutes of the game. (They knew to save the best for last.)

Meanwhile the eighth grade teacher grabbed one of her students by the collar and dragged him a few feet across the floor (and she’s not even five foot five—but she’s strong!) and the security guy began to play punch one of the tall seventh graders when the ref wasn’t looking and the seventh grader hit him back (all in play) when the ref was looking so we got a few points through free throw penalties.

I did get the ball again, and I was open and I turned to shoot when this eighteen foot student jumped all over me before I could even think to raise my arms so I passed it to the eighth grade teacher and she took a shot and made it. I got the ball a second time and this time I did get off a shot which at least hit the rim—but guess what?—I got the rebound and was able to pass it to one of my teammates who at least had a clue.

Great game.

We lost 82-52.

I keep saying this: Basketball’s not my game. I’m not sure of baseball. Why can’t we have a field hockey game? OK. OK. I’m the only one who can play that. But everyone can run.

Track and field anyone?


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