Who teaches in a rough neighborhood?

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

  1. TiffanyL

    TiffanyL Cohort

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    Aug 8, 2010

    LOVE IT! Treating human beings with dignity regardless of their circumstances can go a very long way.
     
  2. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 8, 2010

    I student taught in a Title 1 low SES elementary school. My kids came from homes where parents might have drug problems, latch key kids, single parent homes. One of my students had been a crack addicted baby. High free lunch population, lots of learning issues. It wasn't that the kids were tough or that I felt unsafe but it became so crystal clear to me that sometimes the 7 hours in school is the best 7 hours of a kid's day. I now teach in the 'polar opposite' of my student teaching experience, but guess what? Even in high SES neighborhoods, sometimes the 7 hours in school is the best 7 hours of a kid's day.
     
  3. stephdaisy

    stephdaisy Rookie

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    Aug 8, 2010

    I have taught in a low SES school since I began teaching 6 years ago. This past year I moved to another school district. During my new teacher orientation, I would continually get the response..."Oh, you are going to teach at THAT school" I couldn't understand what the problem was.
    Well, school began and by the second day of school I had already had a huge fight between three of my students. The year continued with, chairs and desks thrown on a weekly basis, students who would run, students choking other students, degrading others, attacking me, stabbing me with a pencil, etc. I had one student go to alternative school 3 times and will probably begin his school year in alternative school, one admitted to a psych ward twice, etc. Everyday I never knew what would happen or who would completely go off the handle. It was a very stressful time this past year. I do have my concerns about what is to come this year, however I wouldn't have it any other way.
    These children live such deprived lives and see so many things that 1st graders should never experience. The way I see it, someone has to be there to champion for these children. They need someone to care for them and teach them those things they will never learn in their home. My job is to make them feel safe and welcomed and get them ready for life beyond what they know.
     
  4. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Aug 8, 2010

    When I was first hired, I took over for a teacher who was shot in a drug cross fire. I have worked in a number of different schools in this same district, and found that I LOVE teaching urban school children.

    To me, there is nothing more meaningful or rewarding. I know that for some of my students, being at school is the safest and happiest part of their day. They depend on me for the structure and routines and love that we share. It is a great feeling to be making such a difference in their young lives. I feel privileged to have this job.
     
  5. demijasmom

    demijasmom Companion

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    Aug 8, 2010

    Jem
    I can't remember the author's name at this time but the title of the book is Understanding Poverty
     
  6. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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    Aug 8, 2010

    Hi Gang.

    1.
    Great big hugs to those who teach in our really tough high-poverty schools across the country. When you tell others that you teach in XYZ district / neighborhood and get that "look" from them, you know that you're an urban teacher.
    :p

    2.
    It's great that we can relate to the "horror" stories, but the posts are getting a bit sensationalistic without better context as teachers. Perhaps we can also share how we can make our urban classrooms work more effectively?

    It takes a tremendous teacher to persevere and do right by the kids year after year. I was a pretty bad teacher last year and have *tons* to learn from our wonderful urban troopers (like mmswm) and would love to hear strategies they have used.

    Much empathy and love from another urban teacher.

    :hugs:
     
  7. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Aug 9, 2010

    I survived the first day today with 20 second graders! Urban teachers who want classroom management advice should come see my mentor. She is just phenomenal. Those kids were so busy learning they didn't even have time to act up, and if they did, she made them re-do her directions. We walked to the bathroom 3 times in a row this morning. :lol: And she didn't even yell! She just said "This is unacceptable, and we will do it again until you do it right."

    Even I shivered a little. :p
     
  8. AKitchin

    AKitchin Companion

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    Aug 9, 2010

    I taught in a rough neighborhood my second year of teaching. I had taught PreK in a nice area, but after a month of year 2, I needed a change. I subbed for two days, and then applied at a charter school. I got the job and became the 4th teacher since September (this was Dec., the principal really couldnt even handle them)

    The kids were second graders, some kicked out of public schools, some there because the public school in their neighborhood was worse... They swore, fought, brought knives, talked back... but I loved them all! Everyone had given up on them! I told one girl to stop leaning in her chair, she ripped up her paper, threw it on the ground. I asked her to clean it up, she started knocking over chairs and the tables, she knocked over all of the cubby units.. (like 200lbs or more!!!) I had the kids out of the room by then, but the one teacher who went in there said he was scared... but we got her out and took care of it. I had a kid punch my window out... But again, I loved those kids! The school psychologist asked me what I did in a former life to have this class! Over 2/3 were considered O.D.D. We did have some great times, but the bad are sticking in my mind.

    By the end of June, things were good and they were learning and improved, but the principal and I didnt see eye to eye and she decided that I should be a Kindergarten assistant. I told her no thank you and ended up getting the job in VA... in an opposite school! Its really nice in my current school, I wouldnt say easy, but it is easier... different problems. I would LOVE to go back to inner-city ed some time! I feel like once you reach some of the difficult kids, you really make a difference...
     
  9. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Aug 9, 2010

    I student taught in a suburban/rural k-8 "middle class" school that actually had a pretty good mix of socio-economic families. I am entering my 3rd year of teaching full-time, all 1st grade, at my 2nd pre-k-5 school. Both elementary schools are "in the hood," 100% free lunch/breakfast, high drug/gang areas, with parents in jail or simply not there, 1st graders babysitting their younger siblings, and all of the horror stories told by previous posters, so I won't reiterate them. For many of my kiddos, the 2 meals they receive at school are the only meals they will receive that day. Often, our school nurse is their only medical attention. The time spent at school is the only structure they have, and is definitely the safest/warmest/coolest/most comfortable place most of my students encounter. I do NOT feel sorry for my students. I, too, was a low-income kid. I was also a single mom on foodstamps. Instead of feeling sorry for my students, I have HIGH expectations for them and hold them accountable for their actions or inactions. My first school was awful. I joke about the inmates being in charge of the asylum there. It's really not funny. That school has generational problems, because students and parents are not held accountable - there are no expectations for them. Only the teachers have consequences - all bad. My current school is the polar opposite in character. My students are from the same socio-economic "class," for lack of a better word. They have the same daily problems as the students in the first school. The difference is that at my current school, the entire staff/faculty has high expectations (behaviorally and academically) for our babies. We expect parent involvement as much as possible (and have a hugely greater ratio of parent involvement!), and our (retired military) principal will take no "guff" from anyone. He makes his presence known on campus, and both parents and students know that he means business. There are consequences for actions, good and bad. I have friends who teach at more affluent schools, but I don't think I would be nearly as fulfilled at a school such as those. For me, it's truly a ministry to reach and teach these children (and sometimes the parents) every day. I still have parents from last year's class who have called me over the summer to see how I was doing and to fill me in on their student's summer activities! I spend probably 1/3 of my income on my classroom/students. I do not have to, but I choose to, because (a) it makes my life easier and (b) it makes my students' lives more pleasant and learning easier for them. I feel blessed that I have a wonderful husband who supports my ministry (as I support his prison ministry). I am often exhausted and frustrated, but there are always many more positive experiences to balance the scales! Sorry for rambling....
     

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