Hello there, I am a pre-service teacher reading blogs for a class and your blog caught my attention. I have wanted to teach in an inner city school for some time, but reading your blogs make me think hard about it. Your last comment really struck me though. "There's so much they don't know. I wish I could have done a better job for them. Pouring my guts out every day wasn't enough." Doesn't that make you want to keep trying for the one chance that you might help someone? I never saw if you decided to stay or not at the school...what's the verdict?
Hello there pre-service teacher,
I don't want to discourage you from teaching in the inner city. Please come give us a hand. I write my blog to vent frustrations, give voice to the voiceless, make political commentary, fuss and fume, scream out to the gods, laugh at the system and myself, and occasionally to cry. I teach where I teach because I want to make a difference. I want to reach kids and help them succeed. This is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. Like a good magic trick, good teaching looks like something easy to do. Once you get to do it, you find it is the hardest thing to do properly. It is a constant learning process. My blog is sometimes misunderstood. My irreverence or profanity is sometimes taken for a lack of care or cynicism.
To answer your question, I am staying in my school. This was my most successful year yet. It is a slow process in the inner city, at least from my perspective, and there were lots of kids that found success in my classroom. My best year to date contained joys and sadness. Being a teacher in any school system or location gives you a mixture of all the emotions. My location gives me a lot to gripe about because it is so bleak. Last week there was a pre-service teacher murdered in Philly. He came to teach math and ended up being killed for his iPod. There was a student shot as the Strawberry Mansion High School graduation ceremonies were ending. (What is up with that?) There were two people murdered at a Chinese "store" just a block from my school last Wednesday night. I stop at this intersection almost every day because of the traffic light. I see and hear a lot in the inner city. I deal with the deficits in every area. My kids come to me behind in almost every way. I help them move up but where do they move to? It's a process. I don't have any solutions. I just try. Every day is a new day to try again. I do my best. Lots of the time I'm exhausted. Some of the exhaustion comes from normal teacher stuff. Some comes from all the extra stuff that comes with teaching inside the bottom of the barrel. My suburban colleagues don't have to fight all the battles I fight.
Hopefully, you will join me to fight the battles, too. It's going to be tough. The kids are going to give you a hell of a lot of sh$t. The parents will, too. The school will be insane. Like nothing you have ever seen before. The administrators will not have time to care. You will be lonely. You will be brave. You will cry. You will work your tail off. You will survive. Good luck. Check in to let me know how you are doing. I sure hope I haven't discouraged you.
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