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I too teach at an inner city school- elementary, that is. It is in a very
poor section of town- 99.5% minority, large run-down homes, in a
neighborhood that has many boarded up homes, and high crime. This is my
second year at this school.
Prior to this, I taught in a more rural community. Actually, I see a lot
of similarities. Both had a high transiency rate; a low educational and
socioeconomic level of families; needy students - emotionally and
physically; most are from single parent families; both had a high teenage
pregnancy rate. The two things that differed were the ethnic makeup and a
lower crime rate in the rural area.
Teaching in low socioeconomic area such as an inner city can have
predisposed challenges. There seems to be a pervasive attitude by the
city that these students can't and wont succeed and that they won't ever
make anything of themselves. Schools like mine have to work extra hard to
counteract this mentality. With dedicated teachers and a strong
administration discipline policy, students do succeed - in fact, we are a
high achieving school.
It is frustrating though when society sets up obstacles. The media
doesn't seem to be around when positive innovative things happen in the
inner-city schools, but they are immediately there if a shooting or
murder happens in the area- and have made an effort to make sure they
showed the school in the scene. Even the district has set up some
obstacles, in giving the school less money than schools in better parts
of the city. Inequities sure exist.
Teaching in an inner city can have its eye-opening experiences, but it
also can be rewarding. The kids are so hungry for attention, respect, and
just someone to tell them that we believe in them and their abilities-
sometimes we must say that we expect more of them. It is gratifying to
see students achieve despite obstacles. And I have to admit, the hugs
help a lot :)