Thursday, September 29, 2005

Teaching In Inner-City Schools: What's To Be Done?

These are some of the challenges that confront many of our country's inner-city teachers:
Twenty-five freshman boys and girls, ninety minutes, 2-4 grade levels below their peers, the last two periods of a 13 period day -all of these things equal one tired and frustrated first year teacher.

I've tried so many things. I called parents, I wrote referrals, I compromised, I gave a pop quiz, I dropped the curriculum and tried current events, I turned the lights on an off, I yelled (numerous times), I kept them after class, I started talking notes on each student, I warned them they were being graded on class work, but nothing has worked.

I keep hearing you'll be fine, they're just kids, but these kids can be incredibly difficult. They look at me with disgust; they glare and snicker. I have to fight to keep my cool. I'm struggling to not tell them my true opinion of them during those moments.

They are rude and more disrespectful than any other children I think I have ever met. They disrespect me, as well as each other.

After one of my best students in the class raised his hand to answer yet another question, I heard a cough from across the room; it was a cough with the phrase "your gay" underlying it. I gave the kid a look to let him I know I heard it, but let it be at that.
Edwize has more to read in the whole post, which does a fine job of showing us some of the reasons why so many young teachers leave the teaching craft during the first five years.

My attitude toward disruptive students tends to be rather straight-forward: When any student is disrupting the classroom environment, then that pupil is denying all other children in that room their opportunity to have access to a quality education.

Such disruptive behaviors shouldn't be tolerated.

When a school's administrative apparatus allows this to continue, it is committing educational malpractice toward every child in that classroom, including the disruptive student.

I firmly believe that students who will not permit the teacher to teach should be removed from mainstream classrooms and be placed in a more structured setting with a much lower student-to-teacher ratio.

Teachers who work in the inner-city often do so with the additional handicap of having to do so in badly-maintained facilities. Even worse, many earn less compensation than that earned by their suburban counterparts.

They deserve much better.
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