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, May 31, 2007


Yesterday I did not go to my teaching job because I attended my son’s high school graduation. It was both interesting and confusing, but I’m proud of him and I’m glad he’s my son.

He worked really hard—was actually number one in his class a few times his senior year—and he has his future mapped out.

I had a few concerns before we entered the great room. He had been totally neglected by his yearbook—not mentioned anywhere. Calls to his teachers so I could make a videotape honoring him were returned when I was at work. His principal, a Mr. Freeman, promised me he would have him come down to his office for a talk—he had heard so many good things about my son. He did not keep his promise. My son’s graduation outfit was listed to someone named Karen. His name is Korey.

But it all worked out. He was in the program, we took pictures, and everything went well—though I still have issues with some of the parents who were really rude. At one point, when the President of the School Board was speaking, a great booing erupted in the stands all around me. They were booing because security confiscated a beach ball that suddenly began to bounce from row to row of graduates. He stopped, looked around, thought they were booing him, and then realized they were not. Later a teacher had to harshly speak to a row of parents behind me because they had purchased more balloons and they wanted them in the air.

Nothing like not hearing a speech—no matter how boring—because a row of adults is yelling, “Hit it. Lift it up. Come on. Keep it going. Hit it. Don’t let them get it.”

My son was given flowers by his sister and he promptly passed them out to girls he knew. The smiles on their face were well worth the money I spent on the roses.

That’s how I spent my day yesterday.

Today I gave my students a chance to catch up on missing work—and that went very, very well.

Except for the boy who does nothing. “Why can’t I go on the field trip?” he shouted at me, as if that would change my mind.

I just said, “You’re failing. This will give you an entire day to catch up on everything you missed.”

He let out a curse, and I moved away. (This was after school when we were dismissing the children, and it began to rain.)

Only two weeks left.


Anonymous Bridget Schaul said...

Hello there.

This might sound a bit bizarre but I also graduated with Korey the other night from Niles North High School.

Your son is a very sweet young man. I had never met him until the night of graduation, when we spoke a little bit before the ceremony.

I saw him after the ceremony, went up to him to congratulate him, and he ended up giving me one of those roses. It was one of the sweetest and most caring actions I'd ever seen in my life. I'll always remember him because of that.

Please tell him that Bridget Schaul says hi.

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Bridget said...

Hello there.

This might sound a bit bizarre but I graduated with Korey the other night from Niles North High School.

I just want you to know that he made graduation unforgettable for me. I had seen him around a lot towards the end of 2nd semester but never knew who he was. The first time we ever spoke was the night of graduation. Before the ceremony, we talked about what the future held for us and what we liked about high school. After the ceremony, I happened to run into him and I congratulated him. He then handed me one of those roses you spoke of in your post.

When he gave me that rose, it brightened up my day. Your son is such a caring young man and his action after the ceremony proves that Korey will go very far in life. I regret not getting to know him earlier in the year. I would just like him to know that I'll never forget him.

Please tell him that Bridget Schaul says hello and that I wish him nothing but the best in life.

9:25 PM  
Blogger A Teacher's Log said...


Thank you for your most kind words.

Michael H. Brownstein, Korey's dad

1:55 PM  

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