WASHINGTON — An African-American high school teacher in an urban Washington D.C. neighborhood school blogs about his students in order to capture the experience and challenges he faces to enhance the educational experience and lives of his students.
The middle-aged teacher, who goes by “TeacherManDC,” was challenged by one of his readers to answer “what makes a good urban teacher?”
TeacherManDC, who has seen a significant amount of staff turnover in the six years he has been employed at the school, knows all too well how challenging it is for urban schools to retain teachers, and how much harder it is to keep teachers who are there for the right reasons.
“You are not a missionary, but a teacher. Your job is to prepare them for the world they will enter, not excuse them because of the one they might have left,” TeacherManDC tells his readers.
He adds, “from what my more seasoned colleagues tell me, urban education is almost always a building in flux, especially now. Adults come and go, and professional relationships are difficult to maintain. Tiny pockets of mutual interest do develop based on subject, or age, or classroom proximity, but I do believe a vibrant, cohesive, school-wide culture is often elusive in an urban school. The uncertainty surrounding testing results, teacher tenure, and administrative longevity only contribute to a sense of apprehension.”
Ultimately, TeacherManDC feels that as a teacher, your student’s education should be as important to you, as it is to them.
“Your job is to make your moments count. If a place really is the people you meet, your job is to be that good place they turn to for solace, growth, and understanding. Teach them like your future depends on it–because it does.”