Who teaches in a rough neighborhood?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Rachael84, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. Rachael84

    Rachael84 Rookie

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    I'm probably just assuming this, but I get the idea that most teachers on here teach in safe suburbs where the kids are well-behaved and have little issues. It just doesn't seem like people discuss behavior issues that much. I would like to have a discussion about this, so I feel better about my past experiences teaching :(. I feel like not many people out there understand what I've went through these last few years, so it would be nice to hear from other teachers what struggles they went through with teaching in bad neighborhoods.

    I'm going into my 4th year, and all 3 years were in the roughest neighborhoods of NYC. My first 2 years weren't all THAT bad, because my husband and father in law have taught in rough areas of the city too, so they gave me good advice to start off. But I transferred to a school closer to home this past year, and it was AWFUL. Way worse. It's probably because i transferred 2 months into the school year, so it was difficult for the class to have their 3rd teacher by November.

    What are some of the problems the kids in your schools go through? I've had all sorts of stuff happen. These are my stories of kids in Kindergarten and 1st grades. Some kids witnessed shootings and seeing people get killed on the street, their parents doing various criminal activities, shelter kids having tantrums all day long. I once had a kid throw a piece of glass at my head, I got things stolen from me, kids doing graffiti outside, older brothers getting my kids involved in gang activity...stuff like that.

    I'd love to hear some stories some of you have went through. We can all share our struggles of teaching in "the hoods" :hugs:

    I actually just transferred to a better area. It's in a middle class area right on the border of the suburbs, so it will definitely be a nice change.
     
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  3. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    Sounds like my school in VA :) It's no NYC, but I teach in Woodbridge (lovingly referred to as "Hoodbridge"). Last year we had a murder in the house behind our parking lot.

    I also started in October my first year, and it was definitely a bit of a shock to me at first, but I absolutely love it. I have worked with gifted children, children with stable home lives, etc. I know I could walk into their lives and they would have been fine with any teacher. I know with my kids, I am truly making their futures, and truly making a difference. I can't imagine working with a different population.

    Obviously safety can sometimes be a concern, but we have a VERY supportive staff. It can be extremely depressing to hear what these kids go through in their daily lives, and that's why I think our staff is so important. We look out for each other, our students, and our families. Most schools like ours have a very high turnover rate... not us :) This year we have one teacher leaving us, and that's to stay at home with her baby. She still wants to come and volunteer sometimes.

    One of the defining moments where I realized I was at the right place was just weeks after I started at my school. One of the teachers was at her morning duty and heard students talking about bug bites they had from bugs on their floor. She found out one of my students had been sleeping on the floor, as well as his whole family (including a 2-year-old sister). She filled me in and told me she would take care of it. Later that afternoon she tells me that she found a teacher with an old bed. Her, this teacher, and our one and only male staff member delivered the bed to this child's house. Not only were the kids all jealous that the teachers were at his house, but him and his sister had a new bed! Not only did this make me cry, but about a week later we were writing a Thanksgiving prompt about what we were thankful for, and he wrote "I am thankful that my sister and I have a bed to sleep in." After that I knew this was my new school family :)
     
  4. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    I spent my first three years teaching in an area of transition lets say- We also had many kids bussed in from over crowded schools (often in opposing gangs). When my program was cut there I moved two one of the worst two neighborhoods of the city for a year. Now I work in a much nicer school. Though it is different. I will say it is a change- but there are still struggles. Disparities between families is more obvious and dealing with parents/families is also very different. Good luck!
     
  5. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I taught in the one of the worst neighborhoods in the Miami area. Actually, I can only think of one other area that was worse than mine.

    There are a number of members here who teach in inner city/urban environments. There are also a number of members who teach in poor rural areas who deal with issues that are comparable to urban schools.

    You are definitely not alone :)
     
  6. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    The grass is not always greener! Well... with all the stabbing and stuff, maybe... but you'll see you'll have a whole other set of issues to deal with.

    I do not think I would be able to handle the kinds of places you've (and so many other here) have taught. Thank you all for what you do!
     
  7. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I do not now, or ever, want to teach in a middle class school. I'll stay with my urban kids, thank you very much :)
     
  8. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    I taught in 2 schools that were on the spectrum of what you describe...though not to the extreme you wrote about. I now teach in a middle class area with a balance of strong parent support and some socioeconomic issues.

    I love my current job and my school, but there was something special about teaching in the other areas. I felt like I made a real difference in the daily lives of those kids and that I could offer them things they weren't getting elsewhere.

    It was exhausting, mentally draining and at times scary, but I'm grateful for those experiences. Good luck at your new school.
     
  9. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    I teach in a drug/crime infested neighborhood. Last year my students witnessed a few gun shootings. There was a day when we heard gun shots after we dismissed students at the end of the day. This school is not as bad as other schools I taught at. The problem we have is consistency, which is what our students really need. I taught at an elementary school where weapons and drugs were found on students often. I really enjoy where I teach. I haven't had any problems with parents. I don't think I could teach in suburbia.
     
  10. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    Haha, my bf and I were cracking up over the grass being greener without stabbings :rofl:

    See, I always admire people who have to deal with parents on a daily basis! I think everyone has their area of comfort, and mine is definitely with my students. I have a hard time talking to parents. At our school there is little to no parent involvement. The other day I was reading someone's blog about contacting 6 parents a day! Sometimes I don't even talk to that many parents in a month! It definitely has its pros and cons, but I love being able to really put my focus on my students and instruction.
     
  11. heymrsp

    heymrsp Rookie

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    I do. Well, actually, the school itself is known as "the country club" of the district - we are in a nice residential neighborhood(that still has its share of issues - there were shots fired and a man murdered - two separate incidents - in the last month of school)but the students are bussed in from all over the city - we are an open district. As long as there is room in the grade level, we accept students from other areas of town.

    In the past year alone, I have had one student be admitted to a psych ward, threaten to kill my teaching partner, and then set her house on fire(which oddly, were not related events). Another student ran away from home when his mother's boyfriend beat him one time too many. Another student broke his arm after driving his mother's car into a tree when she was too high to drive herself and had him drive. I have had my students leave my classroom and upon starting 6th grade, end up pregnant. They join gangs because that's how they survive. Some sell drugs to buy food for their younger siblings who have been left in their care while their parent disappears for days on end. Some have been molested by their caretakers. I won't tell you how many fights I have seen - over things like food and sneakers. A lot of my students have parents in jail - many for life.

    My husband teaches at the high school level, in the same district I do. He has broken up fights between boys and girls. They are mouthy, rude, and violent. I finally told him to stop breaking up the fights after he came home with blood - his own - all over his shirt after he helped other staff break up a fight during a pep rally and got knocked down the bleachers. They pull out knives and carry guns. It's not worth it. When you have police officers in the school, you need to let them do their jobs. The stories he tells me are so sad. The majority of his students are in gangs or have family in gangs. The worst story we have had so far is a boy who came to school and sat in my husbands class and did not say a word. He had blood on his clothes. We found out that night on the news that he had been arrested for murdering his girlfriend's 18 month old daughter - by beating her with bed springs and various other things, because she had an accident. They were leaving her home alone with a glass of milk and some chicken nuggets because the babysitter told them not to bring her back when she found bruises all over her. The boy had killed a child that morning and went to school. It was terrible.

    So, yes, I teach in a rough district. After 11 years, Im not leaving, either. I spent time teaching in the suburbs, and I hated it. I live in the suburbs and my son is starting Kindergarten and Im trying really hard not to be like the other parents I see there. :)
     
  12. Rachael84

    Rachael84 Rookie

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    That is nice in a way, but there are also some drawbacks to low parent involvement (obviously). That school in the Bronx I was in (my first one), I'd say about 80% of the parents only spoke spanish, so I couldn't communicate with most of them. I know some spanish, but not enough to have an in-depth conversation with them. Enough to give them a brief overview, that's about it.

    The thing I would fear about working in the suburbs are the parents mostly. They're super involved, but sometimes too involved. I wouldn't want them watching over me all the time.
     
  13. Rachael84

    Rachael84 Rookie

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    Where in NY are you?
     
  14. jteachette

    jteachette Comrade

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    I knew the neighborhood that I taught in was rough when the police raided a drug house across the street from the school right at dismissal time. Yeah. They forgot to call us. That was over 10 years ago. My kids see all kinds of stuff that kids their age shouldn't see.
    When they come to school when it's -10 and snowing because there is heat and food at school and those things are in short supply at home, you know it's a rough neighborhood. It's not like New York, and certainly not the worst in the city, but gangs are prevalent, and staying late(after dark) is a concern. Coming in early, on the other hand, is quite safe.
    One thing I will say is that the parents are very involved here. If I want to talk to a parent who doesn't speak English, I grab a staff member to translate, and we talk. They are glad that I make the effort, and together we are moulding their children's future. I love my job!
    I haven't always taught in rough neighborhoods, but out of the 26 years that I've been teaching, 23 have been in low income, high crime areas.
     
  15. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    My school has the language issue too. Luckily we have a full time parent liason. I don't know what we would do without her! She calls parents for us, and translates at meetings. I love her! I also like that she has the cultural bond with our parents that I don't.
     
  16. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I work in a really disadvantaged area. I don't like walking out to the parking lot after dark. The kids (even in Kinder) know about drugs and often have parents who are in jail, or recently got out of jail. One student's mother told her the father got a job "painting"-that's why when they went to visit him he wore a jumpsuit and was behind glass-the fumes. :(

    Many of our parents are young-really young. They really try-but just have no idea how to help their kids. Often grandparents are raising them-tired from life. I still remember interviewing in a suburban district once and they were warning all the applicants about the change in their demographics. They were up to 25% free/reduced lunch :eek:. They said it completely changed so much about the school. I almost laughed (but, of course, didn't because it was an interview)-I've never worked at a school with less than 95%-I wasn't sure I'd be able to adjust. ;)
     
  17. texteacher

    texteacher Companion

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    I work in a high poverty area as well. Most of my students have at least one relative in prison. I remember my first year teaching on career day they sent three cops to my room. By the time the third cop came, my darling students didn't have any more questions - only stories to tell. We got to hear about soandso's uncle in jail for murder and many other terrible stories of relatives in prison for drugs and robbery. The worst part of the area is worrying about their home lives and then the whole CPS thing. I've had kids pulled out of my class by CPS only to be brought back a few weeks later in even worse shape than before.

    I definitely don't walk in the parking lot alone at night if I can help it. That being said, I love my kids and I can't imagine teaching anywhere else. I've never been in anything but a title I school and I don't know what I would do in a suburb! Every place has its challenges. I guess I'm just used to the inner city challenge.

    And for the most part, my school has the behavior under control. We had a few incidents last year that were a bit frightening but most of the time it's okay.
     
  18. Alegre

    Alegre Rookie

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    Well, if you call having a minimum of 5 lock-downs a year, in the past three years, a rough neighborhood, then, yeah. Probably 3 out of 10 students have a parent currently in jail. If and when some of the parents come in for conferences, I have to force myself to look them in the eyes and not let my eyes wander to the tatoos on that cover their necks, and faces proclaiming whatever gang language. Alcoholism is rampant in the community.
    We often find used condoms and needles in our school yard, so it's a regular practice of the custodians to take a walk around the play yard in the early mornings to remove these things as soon as possible.
     
  19. fantasticfirst

    fantasticfirst Rookie

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    My students come in with so much baggage. Many of them wake themselves up to come to school by themselves. Some of them come in the same shirt every day. They see all sorts of illegal activites when they are not in school. In the past three years we have had five murders within a three block radius of our school. Most of those were drug or gang related.
    This past year I had two students flip desks because they were mad. Several students would kick and punch walls and windows when they were mad. They only way I could get them to stop was to stand between them and the object that they were punching. One student would do anything for attention. He would walk up to other students and knock stuff off of their desks or hit them in the head when he wasn't getting what he wanted. Then he would run away from any adult that was trying to talk to him. Several times I found him hidding behind the water fountain in the hallway.
    I've had students steal from me, try to hit me, throw things at me, including chairs. Several of my students were caught in fights this year, one started two feet away from me in the hallway. One of my girls punched someone over silly bandz.
    With all of the problems I deal with everyday, I can't wait to get back to school this year.
     
  20. Rachael84

    Rachael84 Rookie

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    When I was at PT conferences this past November in my first school (I transferred that November, to another bad area!), there was serious stuff going on outside. There were a couple guys being jumped by a rival gang. I could hear chains, smashing, some gun shots...those of us whose classrooms were facing the street left the room, because we were afraid we'd get a bullet in the classroom.

    But generally, in that area of the Bronx I was in, they really respect teachers. They can obviously tell who the teachers are in the area. Many smile, open doors for you, say hello, etc.
     
  21. joe22k

    joe22k Rookie

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    I teach in a rough neighborhood with a lot of gang activity. I was suprised when I first started in how much this had to be in my mind. There are things published for schools that I cannot read in my classroom because it they have gang related words in the passage. Although usually this isnt a big deal, it is one thing that I don't want to have to think about.
     
  22. jday129

    jday129 Comrade

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    Most of my students were born in refugee camps in Kenya. Stealing is condoned by parents and violence is the most common way of settling issues. But I love my students.
    I've taught in a very rough urban school. I did my student teaching in the school district #1 in the nation for gang activity. And I taught for 3 years at a small private religious school. Even there, there were stories that broke my heart.
     
  23. TiffanyL

    TiffanyL Cohort

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    I've experienced both (affluent and high poverty). I've always felt that the high poverty schools really took their toll on me as a teacher but it was always where I wanted to go back. I love working with those types of students but the burn-out is high. I never enjoyed working at the more affluent schools as much.....the problems those kids were facing just didn't seem like real problems but yet their parents thought they were ruined for life...LOL.

    Currently, I am P at a school with a very disadvantaged population. Mind you, I'm blond, 5'2" and 100 lbs. We have rough kids hanging out all the time after hours/weekends but I'm starting to build some trust with them and they are starting to take me seriously.

    There are some giggles from them now (most of them are younger than 16) when I approach them and they realize I'm not going to ask them to leave (they'd just return as soon as I left) but that I DO mean business:

    YOU WILL RESPECT THIS CAMPUS BECAUSE I KNOW YOU'VE GROWN UP IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD. I KNOW YOU WILL LOOK BACK FONDLY ONE DAY ON THIS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND ALL OF THE MEMORIES YOU BUILT HERE. HANG OUT, HAVE FUN.....BUT PLEASE CLEAN UP YOUR TRASH SO CUSTODIAN DAN DOES NOT HAVE TO AND SPREAD THE WORD THAT NO ONE BETTER BE GRAFFITI-ING AROUND HERE!

    My dream, of course, is that soon they will be my look-out, they will watch out for our campus instead of us fearing them all of the time.....time will tell.
     
  24. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I worked as a third grade aide last year in Cleveland. This year I am doing a second grade teacher residency in Chicago "turnaround" schools. My friend completed the program last year and left me with this wonderful story: On her first day she walked through the door and observed a first grade class at the water fountain. One little girl stepped out of line, walked right up to my friend, and said "**** YOU."

    :eek: They are so angry. My kids last year were so angry as well. They exhibited many of the violent behaviors already mentioned. I think you need extraordinary patience and understanding to teach in high poverty schools.
     
  25. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    My experiences sound like many others - rough neighborhood, drive-by shootings, robberies, grow house raids, very active gangs, drugs, prostitutes wandering by, raids for illegal aliens, and many lockdowns. We do not hold any activities at school after dark without additional police protection on campus.

    Some of my students live in the neighborhood; some are bussed in from middle class communities. Some live in abject poverty and only have two outfits they can wear to school. There is an incest problem; some of the students have parents and siblings in jail; some have lived through horrors I can't even begin to imagine. Yet I feel safe every day at work - and so do my students.

    At my HS, in a safe middle-class neighborhood, we had two active gangs, multiple arrests for drugs and weapons, bomb threats, death threats, and a serious teen pregnancy problem.

    My first school was a safe upper-middle class school. The most pressing issue was adolescent attitude... but there were still horror stories. The girl whose uncle was climbing in bed with her every night. A sweet, super polite young man arrested for murder during a drug deal gone wrong. I had a knife pulled on me in class.

    Appearances and neighborhoods are deceiving. Every school has horror stories - it's just that some of our kids display it on the outside rather than hold it in.
     
  26. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I do not teach in a rough neighborhood, but our area is generally lower socioeconomic status. Our school is 71% free and reduced lunch. Our school's zone is very broad, including very expensive subdivisions and then not the better parts of town. Our school is in a typical southern rural area, though it's not far from several amenities. However, there was a shooting five minutes from school once, and we were in a three-hour lockdown. I don't think I will ever forget that experience.
     
  27. ekk5968

    ekk5968 Rookie

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    I work at a urban/hood/low SES and I love it!!!!!!! I wouldn't work anywhere else. Many time my kids are stereotyped and condemned before they even walk through the door. Wouldn't wanna work anywhere else! I would prefer that teacher who WANT to work with these students only apply for these jobs.
     
  28. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I'm so glad to read this thread. People tell me I'm crazy when I say I only want to work in inner city schools. Right now, I'm not teaching (long story, most of you know it), but as I looked over my current district's HR page, I literally felt a huge pang of disappointment that the nearest "ghetto" is several hundred miles away.

    In spite of the drugs, the gangs, the knife and gun fights, in spite of the 13 year old pregnant girls, in spite of the abject poverty, I loved every minute of my time at my old school. I don't ever want to teach another "type" of student.
     
  29. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    I teach in a well known gang neighborhood. (Okie Town) It is not safe to leave your cars in the parking lot overnight and we discovered this when an unknown car broke down in our bus lane area and the next morning a big boulder was smashed into the front window.

    My first year teaching, I had something thrown through my window the night before. We also had kids break in and spray fire extinguishers in the cafeteria.

    2 years ago there was a shooting at nearby park in which the bullet hit our school. There was also arson where one of our portables was burnt to the ground as well as a tree and the outside corner of our school. This affected my co-worker's classroom.

    I'm glad I read Ruby Payne before I began teaching here lol
     
  30. missalli

    missalli Companion

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    I also work in a low-SES area with about 90% free&reduced. We're on the edge of a city with a very high crime rate, especially gang and drug-related. It's better than if we were close to the city center, but over the course of the two years I've been there we've had a shooting across the street from the school (3 people were shot, including a child) and a SWAT team standoff at a house a block over as well as a couple other more minor incidents. Thankfully the big stuff has always happened after school hours, but I've seen parents come to IEP meetings high and dealt with students who are being raised by grandparents or family friends because their parents are out of the picture for a variety of reasons. One weekend part of the play structure was somehow set on fire. Oh, and then there was the time I came in one Monday to find a bullet hole -- two, actually; I could see where it entered in one wall and then exited the other. Last year another teacher's room was vandalized and there were a couple incidents of graffiti.

    I agree with others that there's a sense of accomplishment because the kids in these areas are the kids who really need us, but it can also be very exhausting to try and keep a sense of safe community in these circumstances.
     
  31. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I taught in a high-crime area. I taught kindergarten, but we had to go into lockdown mode several times a year due to shots fired in the vicinity of the school. I had students coming in and out of foster care, with older siblings at the school coming in and out of jail. I now teach high school more in the suburbs, though less so than most people think. We have more than our fair share of drugs, fights, arrests at our "good" school.
     
  32. Rachael84

    Rachael84 Rookie

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    Last year, another teacher friend in the building got her car broken into. I taught in the portables, so we passed right by her car while walking into the building. The kids saw her go up to her car hysterically crying. She was screaming and crying a lot because of how much was stolen--well over $500 worth of stuff (it was kind of naive to leave it out in the open in the car though). I taught the kids a valuable lesson about what it's like to get expensive things stolen from you. I think they got a lot out of the lesson, since they got to see how upset she was.
     
  33. demijasmom

    demijasmom Companion

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    I'm not currently teaching but my first 3 years of teching were in a urban school setting and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I agree with ekk5968, those who want to work in the rough neighborhood should apply
     
  34. dxj6482

    dxj6482 Rookie

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    I also tech inner city, BUT I love it! The kids are great, it's the family life that sometimes isn't that great. Last year during parent-teacher conferences, there was a drug related shooting right in front of my room. The school was locked down for hours! The children, especially the younger ones, need us for the constant consistency and love they feel from us. As I leave after school and drive the 30 minute journey back to my hometown where I live with my hubby and children, I reflect on how my kids and life are not so tough compared to what most of these kiddos go through. I honestly have nightmares sometimes worrying about things I've heard on the news that happened near where my students live.
     
  35. beckaloulou

    beckaloulou Rookie

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    I teach in inner city Indianapolis 2nd grade I have 2 students that have been to jail...one for bringing a knife and threatening to get his teacher at his old school and one burglarized a home over the weekend...The kids are crazy cuss not only each other out but me out..Last year I had a kid break my hand because she did not want to stay in class. It is just a not even one day at a time thing it is a one second at a time and many many many deep breaths not to mention chocolate and diet coke ahaha
     
  36. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 8, 2010

    OK, I'm from one of those private schools in the 'burbs, so I have very little to contribute to this discussion :)

    But I do have to tell you about my grandmother.

    Grandma lived all of MY life in Park Slope, Brooklyn. That was before Park Slope re-gentrified, when it was still a tough neighborhood (down the block from Prospect Park, if that rings any bells for anyone.)

    Grandma lived all by herself until she died in 1986 at the age of 93. How on earth did a little old woman from Newfoundland survive in NYC all by herself???

    She always gave candy to every little kid she saw. She waited while they finished the stickball play, and didn't complain when the apartments above or below or next door played their music too loudly.

    Everyone grew up knowing "Polly." And, as she got older, so did those loyal kids. They protected her, and she never had a bit of trouble at a time when much of NYC was consumed with violence.
     
  37. cariberry

    cariberry Rookie

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    Aug 8, 2010


    I can relate to this teacher...I also teach in a middle class neighborhood, but we have students who are bussed in from a rougher part of town about 12 miles away. So, some of our students have had experience with drugs, gangs etc. A couple of years ago I had a class that was very tough. There were several children in my class (1st Grade) that were being molested by a 5 and 6 grader at our school. That was the year that DCFS was on my speed dial...Last year a first grader's father murdered his whole family, and then killed himself. He wasn't in my class, but it was rough for everyone at the school.

    I also student taught in a very rough neighborhood. In this part of town we had a lot of Polynesian gangs, and some children in our class were in the foster care system, and some were living in the homeless shelter. I had a little boy (2nd grade then) bring a sack of drugs to school accidentally instead of his lunch...I told the lady I was student teaching for, and she "took care of it" but I never saw the little boy again.

    I really admire those of you that teach in inner-city schools and bless you for doing it. Thanks for your hard work in educating America.
     
  38. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Aug 8, 2010

    Though I'm not at that school anymore, I've had kids who's parents had more or less traded them for drugs.

    I also had a student with both parents on the state sex offender registry. And CPS was in the process of sending him and his brother back to his mom once she got out of rehab.
     
  39. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Aug 8, 2010

    What you get in NorCal a lot is a mix - kids with parents who are active in gangs along with the children of university professors in the same class.

    And yes, you are correct. Sometimes the upper-middle class parents can be real pains, especially when their seemingly perfect little angels turn out to be not so perfect. Last year, I had two very long meetings in the principals office with parents who didn't like the manner in which I was making their children accountable for their behavior at school. And these were both middle-class parents as far as I could tell.

    Meanwhile, parents of the streetwise little urchins were just happy that I was teaching their kids to read and allowing them to live to be second graders.
     
  40. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Aug 8, 2010

    I taught for a few months at a very rough middle school. I left in Feb. due to safety issues. Looking back, they could have made two adjustments and I would have stayed. It was NOT the kids. But they should have taught us how to work with and understand the kids. If you haven't grown up in that culture, you just have no idea. I wish they would have provided even a 2 day PD on what to expect. The second is that the principal was never on campus, and when he was, there was still no discipline. Just a decent consequence system would have made all the difference. I was so naive, though. Coming from Ann Arbor, MI to inner city San Francisco was crazy enough-I had never even considered gangs or theft or swearing or fights. I thought it was all trolley cars and sourdough bread.
     
  41. GD2BQN

    GD2BQN Comrade

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    Aug 8, 2010

    I work in a neighborhood that has mostly trashed out trailer homes. Not all homes are trailers and not all trailers are trashed out--just most! My children here experience prostitution, drugs, gangs, violence, discrimination, parents in jail, no parents, one parent, growing up with one grandparent or both grandparents, no food, electricity, dirty, lice, fleas, hunger--you name it. Fortunately, I grew up in poverty--with a single parent and sometimes no parent around. My sisters and I were our only support system. It is because of my background that I am able to relate to these children. It is because of who I was that made me who I am and can encourage and motivate these children to try harder and become better students--better people. I don't always reach all but even if I do just one......:thumb:

    I figure, God has given me what I have now so that I can give to those that are less fortunate and don't have-like I didn't have.
     

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