A Day in the Life of a an Inner-City School TeacherMouthy kids, flaky parents, poorly-equipped classrooms, and a few divine moments of connecting with students – it’s all in a day’s work.
Before I even open my eyes, I hear my phone buzz with a new text.
"hey do we hv skool 2day?"
It's from one of my student advisees. The text amazes me--why would we not have school? Also, I am always hyper-aware of the number of days we have until the next day off, which, in this case, is 4 school days left until break.
"Yes," I respond. "Please remember to bring a note from your mom for your absences all last week."
"Ok thnks. I hv a headache and Bad Stomach. Mom wants me to ask you if you think I shld cme to skool 2day."
Really? I am not the mother here.
I don't respond. They'll figure it out.
In between shower and coffee, I remember I need to download a video clip of a play onto my laptop while I'm still at home, since YouTube is blocked at school. This is a play we're studying in class, and it would be really beneficial to have the students hear and see this famous movie actor they admire playing the lead role. I wish tickets were less expensive or I'd try to take them to see it, being performed right here in New York City. But there's no money for that in our budget so a video clip will have to do. When I tried this yesterday it froze and there went my lesson.
With a pile of fresh worksheets still warm from the copier, I arrive at the classroom where I will teach my first two classes. "You're late, Miss" is how the group of four students waiting outside the door greet me. Class doesn't begin until 8:30 and they are supposed to be in the cafeteria, but once again they were released early. They are four of my best students, but who likes to be called out for being late when you are, in fact, early, and so are they? Good morning to you, too.
I unlock the door and sigh. This room...sucks. Two years ago when I was told I had gotten my own classroom, I hilariously thought that meant I would be teaching in there. This year, due to "scheduling issues," I'm teaching in rooms all over the school. This one is particularly grim: small, windowless, with a noisy air vent above that makes it hard for students to hear. I have 28 students on my roster, and 25 chairs in the room. If they all show up on the same day, we're in trouble.
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