Teacher For Real? Not Even Close!: Survival In the World of Inner-City Teaching Part 4.1

3년 전

Everyone's first year is bad, mine was even worse. This is the fourth part of the story of how a military veteran, failed rock and roller, and single dad became a successful inner-city schoolteacher. This will become a book in the near future and I hope Steemit will help me strengthen this and prepare it for my co-writer and editor. Please comment if there is something you think I can elaborate on more, or if you think I am missing the mark, or if you have a question.

I Can See You In The Morning When You Go To School

So my short summer break started and I was busily courting my future wife. In late July I had to attend certification classes. I walked into a crowded room and off we went. A lot of what I heard was probably great information to have, but honestly I was focused on being in my classroom. I think I inherently understood that not being there was going to be a set back before the first student came into my classroom. I also found out that Mr. Job (the principal) who hired me had accepted the Director’s position of the corporate side of Eastend and would no longer be involved in the day-to-day operation of the school. He would be working with the corporate side of the school to raise funds and keep things going. I took solace in the fact that Mr. Solomon; the Assistant Principal of the middle school was still there. Additionally, my certification program ran well into the first part of the year round schedule, so a substitute had to be hired to cover my classes. I was too inexperienced to realize the future problems this would create.

Don't Forget Your Books

Looking back I realized that the climate and culture of a classroom is pretty much set in the first two weeks of school, particularly for inexperienced teachers. A substitute, while well meaning is going to reflect his or her values and when she leaves the authority will leave with her. Intellectually you are the teacher, but to the students you are a replacement. It cannot turn out well. Also, academically a substitute cannot deliver the material the way you do. So a lot of real teaching is not happening. I was not educated enough at the time to realize that I had been professionally set up. There was another brand new teacher on the team and she and I did not hit it off. I introduced myself to her before school started and the following day when I walked by I said “Good morning April.” She turned and responded, “You mean Ms. Bond?” I replied, “sure thing Ms. B.” and walked away.

You Know You've Got To Learn The Golden Rule

After my certification classes were done, I started teaching. I was the only educator teaching 6th grade history. Consequently, I was on my own to design my lesson plans and curriculum. There was no pre-prepared curriculum. I did not have contacts at the other schools to reach out and get any help, and I was ignorant regarding what works for 11 year olds. So I used the state framework and took many of their suggested activities, modifying them for what I guessed would work for my student population. Like many new teachers, I was struggling to maintain order in my classroom but I remained optimistic. I did not understand what was going on in my classroom. I am pretty sure in retrospect I was not delivering the best lessons, but they were improving as I was learning.

Teacher Tells You Stop Your Play

Now when I reflect back on classroom behavior and my management of it, I was inept at best. Classes were crazy; misbehavior (usually age appropriate and not malicious) was like popcorn. As soon as I would take care of one student, another would go. I made the mistake of trying to use technology before I had mastered classroom management. When I would turn my back to the class it went haywire. I was shocked, students were going crazy in my classroom and I would look into the classrooms down the hall and students were very well behaved. All of the teachers for sixth grade were either new to the school or were returning to the classroom after a long absence. Two of us had never taught. It was not a good combination.

Get On With Your Work

My later research revealed what was going on. Eastend students are together through most of elementary school. The middle school teachers are in the same building and are known by all of the students. Also, a lot of the students are related to each other and live in the same neighborhoods so they know about all of the teachers. Essentially everyone in the community is a large surrogate family. In fact when I later interviewed former students, the word family came up a lot. Students spoke about conflicts with their peers and said it was over quickly because it was like having a fight with a sibling. Many of the students saw teachers as surrogate parents or uncles and aunts. Eastend was a family. I was an outsider encroaching on that family. My experience was not unique, even experienced teachers went through a crucible. All of my peers that I interviewed spoke about the rite of passage they were put through and how it impacted them. Teachers with 20 years of experience spoke about how they felt they had made a huge mistake coming to Eastend. One teacher said that the truck driving school on the matchbook was looking real attractive in October. No one explained that to me at the time, so I was taking it hard.

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Subtitles are taken from the first verse of the Supertramp song School

Part 01 of the Series
Part 02 of the Series
Part 03 of the Series

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If you like these entries or have any questions or want to offer encouragement please post a comment or hit the upvote button, while making money is not really my concern I would like to know that I am not shouting into an empty canyon.

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Hello! I am Mike K. I am an educator, lifelong student, military vet and wannabe musician. I have a love of history, economics, philosophy and motorcycles. I am quickly moving from minarchy to Christian anarchy philosophically and want people to stop meddling. My debut CD should be out soon!

Riding in Tennessee with my son on the Green Eyed Snake

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I liked your article. Helps you like mine ♥ @siams

What was up with Ms. B?


She was a raging b, she ended up getting "kicked up" after her standardized scores were in the toilet two years in a row. I never did figure out her trip. A few years later a libertarian organization sued her when she suspended a student for wearing a shirt with a political image on it. I don't believe in karma but sometimes things work out. :)


Yea, sounds like the type!

Hi again, friend,

I continue to enjoy your series. No real constructive feedback yet, but I'll keep trying.

I do wonder, though: Do you have some magic way of keeping up with my posts? I appreciate your strong support very much, and your upvotes, which seem to appear almost instantly... How do you do it? :) I would like to be able to support your work nearly as well as you support mine. ;) Do you have some kind of bell that goes off when I post? :0

Though very appreciative, I am truly mystified...


I visit Steem throughout the day and I actively try to read every post you and several other people write. I leave steemstats open in a tab in FireFox and it tells me when people I follow post. Since I work in my home office when I take a break from writing I "catch up." I also use a program called steemvoter when i retire in the evening or on weekends to take care of anyone I might miss. You can find that one online

I have been thinking about writing an article on how we all could support each other. I think it would be wonderful to post and have 100 votes in an hour or two. While you might not make much steem, you would know that people support your effort.


Thanks! I'll have to look into trying the tools you've mentioned. And, again, thanks for your support! :)

great post again - first 2-3 of the Autumn term is always the hardest to get the 'darlings' to settle back into class mode after the summer break. Glad to see Ms B was a helpful colleague! always one.....
enjoy reading your teaching posts, that book will be a good seller


Thank you for your encouragement. Funny as I got more experienced I really loved those first few weeks. As I always say, it is the adults that ruin the profession, and I do not mean the parents. :)

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