Monday, December 10, 2007

The Teaching Job

Two weeks ago today I started teaching again. I'm in an inner city public high school teaching Special Education. The school is 25% Special Ed, 40% African American, 20% Asian, 20% Hispanic, 17% White and 3% Native American.

I wanted to recount my first day as a teacher. I walk in to a room that is maybe 20 x 20, no windows, one small desk, a chair, a telephone, a metal cupboard, a white board (no markers), 3 rectangular tables, 8 chairs and a new Dell computer. This will be the room where I will teach science, reading, life skills and study skills to cognitively disabled youth. I don't have students until the following Monday when the new trimester starts so this is a week that I will figure out how to best teach these youth. I have no curriculum, nothing. I have never taught science before and I begin to wonder what I have gotten myself in to.

I am greeted by one lone teacher from the Special Education team. I ask her about curriculum and a budget. She tells me that I have $35.00 for the year to spend on materials but that I will probably spend this on copies since I have to pay for any that I make. She brings me down to the office to pick up the few basic supplies. I get an eraser, white board markers, a stapler, rubber bands, paper clips and a few other office type supplies along with AN AMERICAN FLAG! I go back to my room to see where I can hang my American flag (of course I don't have a flag holder) and seeing there is no where to put it, I sit down on my adjustable desk chair and immediately sink to the floor. Not figuratively, but literally...the chair was broken.

Next, I get a brief tour of the building and as I am touring the third floor I witness a fist fight between two African American males. Within seconds I hear a whistle blow and the principal appears to break it up along with some other administrators. I ask the teacher who is showing me around how we notify administrators when altercations like this arise, she suggests that I invest in a whistle.

Stay tuned for more stories from ..."The Teaching Job".

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