Inner City Teaching

Discussion in 'High School' started by ChillE Dogg, Jul 4, 2010.

  1. ChillE Dogg

    ChillE Dogg Rookie

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    Jul 4, 2010

    I am going to be moving to Tampa after I graduate to teach HS biology at a Title I school and get rid of some of this massive student debt. I would rather teach in the city as opposed to a rural area. But, I was just wondering from anyone with experience teaching in the city, how you deal with issues such as discipline and just generally getting kids to come to class and pay attention? :confused:
     
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  3. Groovy

    Groovy Companion

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    Jul 4, 2010

    I don't have first hand experience, but I just finished reading "The Emergency Teacher" by Christina Asquith. She's a journalist who spent a year teaching in the worst middle school in Philadelphia. Excellent book. I highly recommend it, even if you do not plan to teach in urban schools.
     
  4. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Jul 4, 2010

    Okay...I'm WAYYYY to tired to think right now, but I searched through some of my previous posts and found something I typed out a couple years back. It was directed at a teacher who'd come into a school mid-year, but the concepts still apply.

     
  5. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Jul 5, 2010

    Oh, I found this...even better, or at least more generalized.

     
  6. ChillE Dogg

    ChillE Dogg Rookie

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    Jul 5, 2010

    Thanks for the suggestions! I think I might have to order that book too.
     
  7. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Jul 5, 2010

    Check out Whole Brain Teaching too, you can Google it. If you believe in prayer, pray for each child and let them know that you do. Good luck!
     
  8. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Jul 6, 2010

    City teaching is a lot like a working on a factory assembly line. Do the best you can with what you have and don't drive yourself crazy being on some sort of "mission" to save the world or be the next Jaime Escalante. It's a losing battle that's just not worth it.
     
  9. Gien

    Gien Rookie

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    Jul 13, 2010

    That sounds depressing, Reality Check :(

    As for books, I recommend My Posse Don't Do Homework by LouAnne Johnson. Awesome read, great tips & tricks.
     
  10. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Jul 13, 2010

    It may sound depressing, but it's reality. ;)

    It's a job. Treat like a job and you'll be fine. Of course, I can't speak for Tampa, just my little corner of the world.
     
  11. dovian

    dovian Comrade

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    Jul 17, 2010

    Reality Check, I wonder if you work in my district . . .

    And I agree with you. I don't think you're being overly pessimistic. For those who think it is, "Doing the best you can with what you have" doesn't mean having low expectations and phoning it in. There's a big space between phoning it in and saving the world, and that's where most teachers are, inner city or no. The keyword here is BEST. Give your students your best, help them to do their best, and expect them to give their best. AT THE SAME TIME if you are working in a particularly impoverished or otherwise troubled area (and here I'd like to point out that just because a school is in a city doesn't mean it is automatically troubled) it is wise to realize that your students may come to you with certain issues that you would not be dealing with if you were in a different area, and a good teacher is aware of able to work with those issues to get every kid to his or her best.

    To the OP, my piece of advice for high schoolers in general is to know what they're talking about. I'm not saying try to be "cool" or to teach pop culture, but if you see a lot of them reading a book or author, pick up a copy so you can discuss it with them. Likewise with TV shows, music, celebrities, whatever they're into. It's about building relationships, and if you can credibly discuss whether you'd prefer Edward or Jacob, for example, you might be better able to build a relationship with a kid. They'll feel like you care about things that are important to them, rather than always being that person who's imposing on them stuff they "have" to do.
     
  12. TechnoMage

    TechnoMage Companion

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    Jul 21, 2010

    Spent, been there, done that

    I have spent the last 25 years in title 1 schools.

    Both inner city, and now rural.

    YOU can make a difference.

    YOU can show those charges that they are as good as anyone else.

    YOU can show them that they CAN learn in spite of what anyone else tells them.

    It does not matter what anyone else thinks, its what YOU think.

    HOLD the line, take each day as it comes, be Fair, Firm, and Consistent.

    Do the best job you can. Set them up for success. It works.
    TechnoMage
    :blush:
     
  13. SingBlueSilver

    SingBlueSilver Companion

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    Aug 10, 2010

    I agree with Reality Check and dovian - "Do the best you can with what you have". This doesn't mean that you can't reach them. I've taught in an urban population, although young to the profession (entering my 4th year in a new district), if I wanted to continue to teach, I had to learn that there were battles that I could not win. You'll have an easier time if you can learn to let go of some things. You CAN'T reach them all, but you also can't stop wanting to reach them all - that's what teaching is all about. After I realized that I can't "just teach" I actually had an easier time with the students because then I took the time to actually talk to my students and get to know them.
    I learned Omar liked Metallica and thought about learning bass guitar, so I encouraged it. He ended up getting a bass and lessons for Christmas that year. I learned Bryan loved soccer and thought Manchester United was better than Real Madrid; I told him I liked Manchester because my fav member of my fav band liked them. I read all the Twilight books and had very heated discussions with Mariana about how Edward was way better than Jacob. Because I took an interest in what they like, they took an interest in what I like...History. They weren't the best students, but they put in more effort for me, because I put in more effort for them.
     
  14. indigo-angel

    indigo-angel Companion

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    Aug 31, 2010

    It is important to get to know as much about your students as soon as possible. Don't rely much on preconcieved notions or things you heard on the radio or saw on television about city schools/or students. I personally try not to get too invasive in my students' personal lives, but manage to maintain positive relationships with them. You will be fine as long as you: 1) set clear exectations regarding behavior and learning 2) don't think that you are the Messiah; your job is not to save "these" students from ther pitiful lives, but to help them attain a good and solid education so they can make their own futures. Good luck to you!
     
  15. walterharris

    walterharris Rookie

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    Sep 26, 2010

    I agree it comes down to parenting. When I was teaching, I had more than a few students who were just passing time until they could drop out. No matter what programs were available or how much attention we paid to these kids, they just didnt value being in school.

    I dont have any answers on how to fix this. I dont think there are any. Parents who value education tend to have kids who value education and vice-versa.

    I think schools are doing the best they can with early childhood education, since the state wont fund pre-school. Getting to kids early and getting them hooked and involved is about the best the educational community can do at this point.
     
  16. chessimprov

    chessimprov Rookie

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    Nov 21, 2010

    Someone else suggested Fred Jones as an author for extreme behaviors. I haven't had a chance to start.

    Other good suggestions that have helped me are to make positive calls on middle of the road or even bad students, (only say positive things unless the parent asks for bad things), go to outside event(s) that some of your students will be at, try to provide events for your students, extrinsic incentives for certain tasks (I prefer intrinsic only, but this tends not to work out so well), talk to students 1-1 if you need to talk with them just outside the room for a minute, or go up to them 1-1 in the room, and use non-verbal cues as much as possible. If they ask you a question in front of the whole class, you can let them know if he/she wants you to answer in front of the whole class.

    You can also try going around the room whispering and redirecting, and constantly repeat yourself without purposely being annoying about it is something you can consider.
     
  17. chessimprov

    chessimprov Rookie

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    Nov 24, 2010

    The only thing I can think of is try to find out what they are interested in and provide them with opportunities/meet them as the public events that they go to. This could be a good first step. Or, if you know of organizations that deal with social issues that apply to the student, you can consult with your counselor, and have the counselor consider suggesting the program(s) to the student.
     

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