Thread Request

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Genmai, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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    Can we have a separate section for the inner city related threads? Because our needs and experiences are pretty distinct, a separate subsection would help consolidate the information for our members.

    :2cents:
     
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  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Are you interested in a separate forum for inner city schools? One that would include all different grades?

    I can pass the suggestion on.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'd like to think that we all can provide insight into a variety of school situations whether we personally teach in inner city, rural, suburbs, varying SES districts....
     
  5. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    This would be really helpful to me also. I originally came to A to Z for related information.
     
  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I teach at a rural, high-poverty school, and I see many similarities between my school and inner-city schools.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I teach in a high SES suburban district- many kids are latch key kids or go home to a nanny who doesn't speak English. We have a high ESL population. We have excellent resources so we service A LOT of special ed and special needs kids...Don't we all have more in common than situations that are unique to inner city or suburbs?
     
  8. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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    To be specific, the inner city is a blighted urban district with high poverty, high crime, high unemployment, poor opportunities and endemic social ills too many to list. Inner city areas are almost entirely comprised of poor people of color who feel further disenfranchised and are often very angry. Homes are frequently highly dysfunctional, and parental support and positive role models are often nonexistent. School resources are poor or nonexistent, and the support is subpar at best. Inner city schools are often staffed by teachers and administrators who want to survive and not improve the situation, and they may offer little useful support. Some staff are flat out terrible even criminal. In an inner city district, you would feel very unsafe walking the streets the kids have to walk. You would be *shocked* if you ever visit the homes where the kids live.

    I would argue that the above description doesn't fit every district and that the challenges of inner city teachers are distinct. Yes, there are many issues that apply to all teachers, and we can relate to each other in multidimensional ways. However, the challenges of teaching in the inner city are considerable and unique to the problems that plague the inner city.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I guess I just don't understand why you think it shouldn't be in general ed- There are many of us who may not venture into the 'inner city' forum if one was created but may have inner city teaching experience (I do) or may be able to offer insight, advice, ideas...
    Genmai, I admire your passion for education and the kids you teach. Kids in all schools deserve great teachers.
     
  10. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    :yeahthat:

    I don't think the suggestion was meant to offend. I like this board because of the variety of responses I get to issues, but I don't think it would hurt to center a forum on urban education. From my experience, teachers in wealthy suburbs certainly face obstacles, but they don't know what to say when I come home all "My kids tried to knife each other today!" or "I have 25 kids and not as many textbooks!"
    I appreciate the sympathy, but it's hard to understand if you're not actually going through it. Chances to interact specifically for urban educators are minimal.

    Case in point: I'm trying to find a school of education that focuses specifically on urban education. If it's not an alternative program or teacher residency, I can count the programs on one hand. :( Urban teachers leave in droves saying they were woefully underprepared, and yet nobody wants to acknowledge the specific challenges of inner-city teaching.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    No offense taken and please don't think I'm being naive. I did my student teaching in an inner-city classroom, I get it, I acknowledge your challenges...I do think, however, that there is a wealth of experience and knowledge and know-how that exists here on the forums among teachers of all 'walks' of this educational life...
     
  12. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    We all have different challenges whether we teach in an inner city school, a suburban school, a rural school. Private, charter, public. High SES, low SES. ELL populations, minority populations. You get the picture.

    What I love about this site is that it doesn't matter, everyone can contribute and give new insights it doesn't matter where you teach.

    For those who teach in the suburbs, I had a co-teacher whose son was suspended 1 day for something (I don't remember what), something that if my school suspended for that particular offense some kids would never be in school. As I remember it wasn't even something that I would have sent a child to the office for.

    Yes, inner city schools have an unique set of issues, but so do rural schools or schools in Michigan or California or primary kids or secondary kids.

    Stopping now.
     
  13. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    I've not looked specifically for a school that focuses on urban education, but I do know that Wayne St. in Detroit, Michigan does.
     
  14. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    I think the point of an urban education area would not be to exclude teachers or isolate issues, but to have easy access to threads discussing urban issues. Right now, you would have to sort through hundreds of general ed threads before you found a few specifically focused on urban education. There are elementary education issues that secondary education teachers can answer, but it's nice to go to one spot and find a bunch of elementary education threads.

    Maybe?
     
  15. jenneke607

    jenneke607 Rookie

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    MsDippel -- which urban area are you from? In New England -- Boston, specifically -- we have a number of urban ed. programs. The Teacher Education Program (TEP) at Harvard, for example, focuses ONLY on urban education. (They also have a doctoral program specifically for candidates interested in becoming urban superintendents!) Boston College also offers a special program called the Donovan Scholars to prepare urban teachers, and offers special scholarships and internship opportunities. Tufts has a Urban Teacher Training Collaborative, and schools like Boston University, Northeastern, Brandeis and Wheelock are all putting a new emphasis on urban teaching despite lacking a specific program. UMass Boston offers an accelerated program called Urban Teacher Educator Corps Pipeline that prepares teachers to work in local urban areas. Yale also offers a master's in Urban Education Studies.

    I am part of a teacher induction group from CETE (the Consortium for Excellence in Teacher Education) that actually splintered off into two groups: the main group (all invited) and the urban teacher subgroup. We meet once monthly to discuss education-related issues, almost like a support group. The one drawback is that some of urban cohort no longer come to the main group meeting due to time constraints! If we were to have an urban board, I might actually witness an inverse phenomenon: teachers might not frequent the urban board as much, and it might seem kind of barren. It's definitely an idea worth entertaining.

    I've stumbled across lots of urban teacher blogs that might interest you, too. While they're not as inherently interactive, the teachers are generally wonderful, intelligent, and reflective practitioners. It's a start.
     
  16. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    Wow -- I live in the fourth-largest city in the US and teach in a nearby small town, which could be considered a suburb.

    There's not that much difference between what's happening in the inner-city and the 'burbs. In fact, many of the better schools here are in the urban area and not the suburbs.

    Just addrsssing your generalization.


     
  17. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Or do a search with my name and "inner city" as a search perameter. I wrote so many at one point that I had the threads bookmarked on my computer so I could just cut and paste as needed.


    Actually, right now, I think there are too many sub-forums. We all have unique challenges and situations specific to where we work. I feel, however, that I have something to learn from everybody. Even people with no experience can suggest something or ask a question that gets me thinking and on the right track. When I'm looking for a particular topic, I just go straight to the search functions. I also don't look at the subforums when it comes to new threads. I use the "All posts" option and read and respond to the ones that catch my interest regardless of where they are posted.
     
  18. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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    The term "inner city" can apply to places that one normally wouldn't consider. Good advice crosses borders. We have too many subforums and need to prune the board for smarter organization. Taking all these issues in account, I still feel that many inner city issues are so distinct that they warrant a separate dedicated subforum.

    Some of the most exciting developments in education today exist in urban education for good reason: urban education is a travesty. Our teachers are woefully and pathetically underprepared for the realities of teaching in inner city schools (where many job vacancies exist incidentally). Good teachers quit inner city teaching jobs in droves as a result. No where else can you find problems as challenging as the ones teachers find in our inner city schools. This is an epidemic.

    As others have mentioned, a separate section won't exclude anyone and all will be welcome. The only purpose is to consolidate the information for easy access.
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    So while adding a forum for 'inner city-urban teachers', what sub-forums would you prune? I do agree that there are too many sub-forums-For instance, I teach grade 2 and rarely visit the grade 2 forum...maybe what defines 'grade 2' isn't as distinct as what defines 'urban ed'...just wondering where one draws the line...not being contentious, just curious...
     
  20. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    "Here" for you is not "here" for me.

    ...which was noted as being based on my experience. I'm very happy your schools are doing well, but I live in Cleveland. I can't pretend that my students receive the same education as near-by middle and upper class students. Everything is extraordinarily different...the school building, the teachers, the attitudes, the supplies, the curriculum. It's just...extraordinary.

    A few miles away (ten minute drive!) is a district with a rating of Excellence. It has four new elementary schools with real playgrounds, science labs, art rooms, smart boards, etc. And the teachers I've spoken to are sensitive to the students' needs. They did not say their kids don't matter because they'll just end up "dead or in jail anyway." This is common talk in my school lounge.

    I very very much respect and welcome your insight as a potential future teacher, however I am DESPERATE for any information I can get my hands on to make me more effective now and later on. If a sub-forum makes my search easier, I'm all for it.


    Yes, thank you! If you've bookmarked any blogs they would be fun to read. And I have researched many of those programs. Unfortunately many focus on science, math, or sped, particularly in secondary education. I am also finding an issue with actual certification. Many of the programs offer a masters in urban ed with no license attached. I would LOVE to read and write about urban ed all day, but that's not gonna help me learn how to teach. I would have to be in school for quite a long time to do both, which can be costly.

    I am also keeping an eye on state populations, since I would generally like to get certified where I can find a job. Maybe that's taking it too seriously, but getting a license in North Carolina and having to move to Massachusetts to teach sounds like a headache. (Especially since every state has different certs...K-9....1-6...B-2....7-12...:dizzy: A mess!)
     
  21. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I'll be honest... I'm very obsessive compulsive. I get overwhelmed with too many subforums. I've clicked the little arrow dealies so that I don't have to see them when I log in. The only forums I check regularly are the General Education and the Elementary Education forums, and I will ocassionally pop into the Teacher Chat forum (or whatever it's called).

    I also don't check the grade level forums very often, unless I see a thread title that interests me from the front page. It's been my experience that threads are MUCH more helpful in those two forums, as you have a lot more input from other educators (because I don't think I'm the only one who mostly checks those two forums.)

    I think that you would get much more help just starting a thread in the Gen Ed forum and discussing it there... tag it as "inner-city" if you want to make it more easily searchable... but I suspect that the forum will just get lost in a sea of other forums.

    I'm not opposed to an additional forum, I just don't think that it will be the solution that you're looking for... but maybe I'm wrong... I've been wrong once before.
     
  22. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I think one of Miami's worst ghetto's qualifies for "inner city". I've dodged bullets and knives, been in lockdowns that lasted until well into the evening because of gunfire and hostage situations a block away from the school, desperately performed CPR on a technically dead child after she OD'd in my homeroom, been escorted to and from the parking lot by armed security as a matter of policy, dealt with drugged out parents and parents who were desperate to be involved but embarrased by their own complete lack of formal education, lived under the thread of gangs and and broken up fights when violent parents made their way into the school to "settle scores" for thier kids.

    I've also given every group of "my" kids everything I had to give them. I learned who they were and accepted, and respected them for who they really were. I cared about them and gave them a reason to care about the subject I taught. I didn't reach them all, but I got to most. I took kids who could barely add and got them performing at or near grade level. I love these kids with my heart and soul. I couldn't love them any more if I had given birth to them.

    With that in mind, I still don't think an additional sub-forum is worth the added clutter. The search features on the site allow for one to search for key words in the texts of posts. People's varying definitions of urban and inner city won't go away if there's a seperate forum for the topic. You're still going to wind up sifting through irrelavent posts. There's honestly not much on the topic of inner city problems. Like you said, so many teachers in the environment have either given up or don't really care to begin with.
     
  23. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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    Good teachers quit because they are completely overwhelmed, not because they don't care. Our good teachers are completely underprepared because education programs do not care for practical training that prepares new teachers for the realities of the inner city and would rather focus on pedagogical research and theory. There are job vacancies in the inner city, and tons of good teachers are out of work. Something is not working. Were the training as rigorous, tough and practical as the environments for which teachers need to prepare, we may witness less of a revolving door in inner city schools.

    There is positive development in this area (see links), and there is plenty to discuss for future leaders and for current teachers in these tough situations. Teaching in the inner city is very tough, and our intrepid teachers need practical advice and support. Why not make life a bit easier with a consolidated subforum? (The rest of the board can use pruning and reorganization as well.)

    Here are a few links for reference:
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/154901
    http://www.teachforamerica.org/mission/mission_and_approach.htm
    http://www.uncommonschools.org/usi/ourResults/
    http://www.achievementfirst.org/results/in-new-york/
    http://www.kipp.org/01/resultsofkippsch.cfm
    http://www.greendot.org/results
     
  24. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    One point of clairification. I did not say "give up because they don't care" I said, "give up OR don't care". There's a vast difference.

    As to the rest, nobody's denying that the needs of the inner city are unique and, in general, not being met. If you search my posts specifically, you'll find that lack of training for the specific needs of this class of kids is high on my list of pet peeves. Others have complained about the same thing.

    I just don't think a seperate sub-forum is the best option here. There's just not enough activity on the topic for it to be effective.
     
  25. Miss84

    Miss84 Comrade

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    I would like to see a sub-forum for the inner-city/urban teachers, not to be exclusive, but I see it hardly talked about on here. Yea you can make a thread, but then eventually it gets lost after a while. Having a central place for others to share advice, stories, and information would be beneficial for everybody, especially for those considering teaching in an urban area.
    The problem I've experienced being a recent college graduate, is that most university programs DO NOT prepare you well enough to teach in this type of demographic (and my university was right in the heart of the "hood"!). I learned my behavior management techniques not through my classroom management 101 class, but through my own volunteer/TA experience within inner city schools. Sad to say, but you can not rely on the university to give you everything you need to deal with what is going on in these schools today. I would have loved to have had a forum to go to dealing specifically teaching in the inner city to give some insight before I actually began teaching.
     
  26. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I've never taught in the "inner city."

    I did student teach in a public high school in NYC, but it didn't fit the definitions I've read here.

    Ah, well, nothing to contribute or learn here.
     
  27. ecl

    ecl Rookie

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    Maybe there would be more activity if inner city teachers had a central place to go for discussion. I know I would be more inclined to participate.

    I'm all for a sub-forum. I am always interested in learning how other teachers in urban areas cope and deal with their situations.

    It's true that all teachers can offer insight, but that hasn't prevented the other sub-forums from being introduced. We can still all reply in any sub-forum.

    Having an urban sub-forum would make it easier for people interested in that topic. I think it would be very helpful for those currently working there, as well as those interested in teaching there. Who knows? Maybe it would inspire some of the job seekers to put in applications.
     
  28. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    I taught in the "ghetto" for ten years and have some similiar experiences as MMSWM. Some of my former students have been shot in the head, stabbed to death, drowned, and many are in jail. Those kids are hard-core. I wish I had a place like this to come to while I was going through those years.

    I'm a hit/miss person on this forum and generally don't have time to check through all the sub-forums. So, I guess I really don't understand why we need another sub-forum for urban settings. I know circumstances are different from one school to another and comments and advice are posted on personal experiences. I think everyone here is generally very supportive regardless of their experiences.

    Time and energy is a premium for everyone, I know when I was in the ghetto I didn't have either.
     
  29. round stanley

    round stanley Companion

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    Having taught for many years in both "inner city" and other schools that may be poor or have loads of lower income students, there is a world of difference in the two cultures/psychologies, norms, etc. A separate section for inner schools wouldn't be a bad idea in my book. But if not a separate section, when you are true "inner city" let people know in your comments you are inner city and that the solutions or ideas they may have for their schools probably won't work for you without some tinkering.
     

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