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, May 05, 2007


Another week done. Thirty days to go.

We read a few of the Cantos by poet Ezra Pound and we discussed and wrote about them. Everything went very well. Then we discussed if his anti-American activities after 1925 were reason to censor him. The students wrote great essays and a few of them even brought out today’s arguments that have brought down a few individuals for saying the wrong thing. The final vote: His poetry outweighs his anti-Semitism. A great week in reading.

There was a sub next door on Thursday who had no idea what to do and he hung in there, and I spent about fifteen minutes out of every hour in his room. Finally, the assistant principal assigned one of the security people to sit in the room with him. My last hour was much more peaceful—even though my preparation period was cancelled.

We studied theoretical science in the afternoons. I divided the class up into small think tank clusters and the students had to come up with the benefits of going into the past to change something in their life—and what obstacles might be in the way of doing this successfully. We did four problems—all physics related (including if an object becomes light when it reaches the speed of light—and I have to tell you, the classes did very well.

Nike came back to the school for Nike Day—the reason for my lost prep. A lot of big shots came to the school. Only primary students—second and third graders—were allowed to participate. I did get to meet someone famous—though I have no idea who he is because all I told him was a he was holding up dismissal and could he please get into his limo so we could dismiss the students. I’m not a celebrity fan obviously. All of these grown people were gushing around him. I had to practically lead him into the limo. So Nike Day came and went and all I got was a t-shirt.

We went on a field trip Friday. Great time. Physics on a skating rink. I can skate so you know I had to pick on the basketball players who whipped our behinds by thirty points during the teacher/student game. Only two of them could skate. And, of course, I had to lap the star player four times just to rub it in.

At the end of the trip the rink organized a dancing contest and I went out and danced too. Unfortunately I ended up challenging two eighth graders to a footwork contest and the entire second floor of my school—the entire floor was on the trip—surrounded me while I danced around them. In the third round, one boy backed down and the other just vanished. The truth is I dance as badly as I play basketball. But I can skate.

I wrote three grants this week—and already I have been notified they have been funded.

So I guess everything is fine and well in my corner of the world.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mr. Brownstein. I have read quite a few of your passages & I cannot help but to wonder,are you "THE" Michael Brownstein of the "RAMP" program?

LaTisha Ford

11:19 PM  
Blogger A Teacher's Log said...

Yes, I ran The RAMP--Reading and Math Program.

Thanks for remembering.

5:45 AM  

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