Working in a bad neighborhood

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Olivesmom, Aug 12, 2007.

  1. Olivesmom

    Olivesmom Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2007

    Hello. I am a new member and new to the forums. I received my MAT degree in elementary ed in Illinois in 2006. I moved to Wisconsin last year and got my license changed and all that good stuff. Like many of us I have had trouble finding a job in the public schools. I live in the Milwaukee area, but not in Milwaukee so MPS won't take me. I taught last year at a private school and it was a horrible experience. (Bad administration, running the school into the ground.) I have just accepted a job for this year at another private school. This is a Catholic school that has recently been taken over by a very well-respected Catholic school group. It will be a "transition" year so I think things may be sort of in shambles and it will be very difficult. The problem and reservation I have with the job is that this school is in a very bad section of town in Milwaukee. There is a lot of crime, shootings, drugs, etc. Whenever I tell someone where it is I get the usual "oh wow" :eek: response. I hate that I am going to have to go into this area everyday and I know that I will not feel safe. I don't have much of a choice because of the job market and I can't really afford to sub in the public schools in the surrounding areas. I also feel like the kids I will teach need me because unfortunately they live day to day in this neighborhood and can't get out at the end of the day like I can. I know we will not have the same security that the public schools in the area have and I just feel sort of worried. Does anyone else have a similar situation and how do you make yourself feel better about going into these areas everyday? Thanks.
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Aug 12, 2007

    I teach in a similar area, and to be honest I've never felt unsafe. Most people can spot a teacher from a mile away, and teachers aren't usually the targets of the thugs in bad neighborhoods--at least that's been my experience.

    Many of my students are gang members or affiliates, although I've never felt threatened by a single one of them. In fact, I'm certain that they look out for me and the other teachers they care about. It's not unusual for one or two of them to privately notify some of us teachers about imminent violence or gang activity and tell us to make sure we're not in the quad/parking lot at certain times.

    Of course, I'm not about to start wandering around the neighborhood on foot in the middle of the night. I do my best to get out of the area well before dark, and the only times I am there after dark (like for a football game or other after-school activity), I make sure my hoosband is with me.

    Keep in mind that, like you said, these kids really do need you. They need to see that there is more to life than those few streets and all the bad stuff in them. Help them learn to be successful and to raise their standards. They will be better off because of you.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Aug 12, 2007

    Oh, and welcome to AtoZ! :)
     
  5. Olivesmom

    Olivesmom Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2007

    Thank you so much Cassie. I think I worry more about it at night (which is my my post is at 1 am ha!) I know I will probably not be there in the middle of the night and most of the violence does not take place during daylight hours. I am a worrier by nature and have to medical diagnosis to prove it, joking. I think it will help that I worry because I will be more on guard.
     
  6. Alaskanteach

    Alaskanteach Cohort

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    Aug 12, 2007

    I completely agree with Cassie.

    Plus, schools in high crime areas get help.. we have cops in our school..

    the kids want the schools to be safe, so it isn't teacher AGAINST student, it is teacher with student, kwim?

    inner city kids need dedicated teachers, too.
     
  7. carlea

    carlea Comrade

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    Aug 12, 2007

    The school I used to teach at was similar - the district actually sent out a memo stating that teachers could not stay late unless there were 2 others & we all would have to leave at the same time.

    On nights like Back to School night, conferences, Open House, my principal would have security & male aides there to walk teachers to their cars when they were ready to leave.

    We had a few lockdowns while I was there - but I never felt unsafe - like others posted before, kids and parents wanted teachers and the school to be a safe place.
     
  8. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Aug 12, 2007

    I worked in a charter school in Detroit. I always felt safe, the outer doors were always kept locked, the playground was fenced in, the parking lot was fenced in, but the gate was always open. We even had a soup kitchen next to us.

    The last year I was there we had a new principal & she wasn't big on keeping the outer doors locked. So then we had a few problems, but it was always with the same person.

    Just keep your wits about you if you're there when it's dark. Make sure your car is locked.

    Remember, you're there for the kids.
     
  9. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Aug 12, 2007

    I've worked in three schools with bad neighborhoods. Two were not inner city but more like rural/small town. They had drive-bys and gangs all the same.

    I worried about not being safe, but it was never an actual issue.
     
  10. MsWK

    MsWK Habitué

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    Aug 12, 2007

    We have homeless men who live on the corner by my school. They are actually very sweet--the parents & children all get to know them, and we take them extra food when we have parties and whatnot. When I interviewed, the sight of the men shocked me (I'm from a small town), but now it's part of everyday life & they are part of our community. I actually feel much safer around them than some of the crazed tourists! Good luck.
     
  11. novalyne

    novalyne Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2007

    This will be my third year at a low-income school and so far safety has not been an issue. We have gang activity and shootings, etc. (off-campus) but I generally feel safe even when coming into school alone, on weekends, etc. It helps that we are across the street from a church so on Sundays when I come in families are walking to/from services, etc.

    My dad would rather I didn't work in such a dangerous neighborhood, but then it's a parent's job to worry! My admin pushes for us to leave before dark, and we are encouraged to call security for an escort if at any time we feel unsafe.

    I wanted to teach underpriveleged kids and accepting the risk of the neighborhood is just something I had to think about. Maybe I'm naive, but I do feel a bit of a "safety bubble" thinking that most gangsters don't mess with the schools. One teacher has had her car stolen, but so far there has been no violence against teachers.
     

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