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Re: Teaching vs. Social Work
Students in poor communities are very immature as compared to those in upscale communities. I was at a high school in a poor area for a while and it felt like elementary school. Students constantly asked me unnecessary questions. Somebody cried everyday. There were verbal and physical fights over things like a lost shoe or a nickname. It was draining. Where I am now (middle to upper class) the students have so much more self control. I was actually caught off guard my first few weeks because I had to teach *content* and I hadn't done that in so long.
Every year the discussion comes across about how schools with more resources and higher income families just seem to do better. Every year someone mentions that it doesn't matter how much money you have but the quality of teaching.
Although I agree that you can have all the money and parental support in the world, an ineffective teacher still won't produce similar results to a more effective teacher.....THAT'S THE ONLY THING I AGREE WITH.
Money does matter. Ineffective teachers can still do well because the resources are there for them. They may not win state but they will still play decent music, have decent size programs and just have a generally effective program.
That same teacher would flounder in a program lacking those built in safety nets.
I'm not saying that people who have state winning programs aren't good teachers, they raise the bar for the top tier and that's great. What I'm saying is do those teachers have to worry about students not having coats for a cold outdoor event, students not getting sleep because their father was beating up their mom the night before, students not getting sleep because someone was shot in the apartment complex, students not getting sleep because their electricity was cut off and it was cold last night, students skipping class and constant fights in the hallway. And all that is just the tip of the iceberg. Look at state test scores...it's a similar situation. More parental involvement and more resources equal higher test scores.
Every program has it's own unique set of issues. But money does make a difference....those teachers just get to teach.
Programs in communities with less resources and fluctuating personal situations have many roadblocks to get over before the teaching even begins.
Teaching in many cases has become more social work than actual teaching. That's why the "drop out" rate is so high. Young people aren't aware of the all the struggles. Of course local policies and procedures don't always make those jobs easier. The hardest students to reach are those in large large school districts where bureaucracy and corruption are king. Teachers in those districts have all the regular hurdles, the social hurdles and then the hurdles within their own district.
I was once a young teacher who didn't understand this and judged those directors as "losers" and directors "who just didn't try"
I was wrong! Two days helping in a very tough district has made me see the error of my way. Count your blessings and say a little prayer for those directors and students.