“Inner City School Teacher Blues”June 9, 2007 at 9:16 am | Posted in education, inner city, teachers | 3 Comments
Please read this article written by a once idealistic middle school teacher who wanted to make a difference, and then left because he felt that it was hopeless. I would like to know your opinion before I post mine.
Many paragraphs strike me:
Every now and again I encounter some enthusiastic college student with a gleam in his/her eye telling me who they want to become a public defender, social worker, or school teacher in the inner-city, and I have to laugh to myself softly as something inside me melts a little painfully, strongly suspecting what life has in store for them. (I still respect such people and wish them all the luck in the world – one has to start out idealistic, I think. Too many people who start out corrupted become nearly worthless with the passage of time.) I survived my time at Berendo without losing my initial idealism without which a teacher is impotent and nearly useless (or a vehicle for causing more harm than good).
However, I realized that idealism need be tempered by a strong dose of reality. Unfortunately, reality was not something the Los Angeles Unified School District – or, I dare say, the community of Los Angeles – was ready to face: the schools there are full of “students” who are not students! One might read an article about the “troubled L.A. school system,” but that does not even begin to capture the colossal magnitude or bitter reaches of the disaster. The reality would break your heart! And the children should not ultimately be to blame – that role should go to the “responsible” adults who should know better (LAUSD Superintendent, administrators, city officials, community leaders, parents, etc.) and make the necessary decisions. I hate to say it because it is unpleasant, but I left the LAUSD utterly disgusted with my school and my role in it (even knowing most of the school and certainly myself were doing our best). That is the honest and painful truth.
As well as:
When you read about good teachers looking for ways out of low-income, poverty schools, hearken back to the voice you heard in this story about one man’s experience with the LAUSD and then try to understand.
A fellow teacher at my school is leaving the school, not because of the students, but because of the school system, ineffective teachers, and inefficient administration. She feels angry and I cannot blame her because our school system sets up our students to fail. It is a sad situation for me because she has the ideals and the potential to be an excellent teacher, a powerful force for change at our school. I can only respect her decision to leave our school and move to a better run school in a similar neighborhood elsewhere.
Now contrast that with Salome Thomas-El who Chose to Stay.
Well, what are your opinions and thoughts about this other inner city school teacher?