Teaching is a demanding profession. The average teacher, regardless of his or her assignment, overcomes many obstacles throughout the school year. With that said, teaching within an economically disadvantaged neighborhood school is physically, mentally and emotionally draining. For better or worse, teaching within a low socio-economic status (SES) neighborhood school is bittersweet.
Teaching within a low SES neighborhood school, at times, is a bitter experience. Without a doubt, the academic gap is quite daunting. In fact, it’s alarming to realize the lack of certain academic foundational skills, such as reading comprehension, specifically at the secondary level. It’s enough for one to question the justification for any social promotion policy.
Another bitter pill to swallow is the propensity for student misbehavior. Not surprisingly, disruptive behavior is a result of academic frustrations. However, putting academics aside, students also grapple with personal tribulations throughout the school year. Despite these harsh realities, a teacher must simultaneously differentiate instruction, provide emotional support, issue rewards and consequences, and, even, document “concerning” behaviors, on a daily basis. Without question, this cycle is physically, mentally and emotionally taxing.
So, is teaching within a low SES neighborhood school worth the bitter experience?
Well, there are plenty of “sweet” moments, throughout the school year, to last a teacher’s lifetime. In fact, one of the best moments a teacher experiences is when a student’s “light bulb” turns on. As a teacher, watching students experience academic success is always rewarding. These “light bulb” moments, often times, occur throughout the school day. These moments provide a teacher with more than enough motivation to endure the “daily grind.”
But it doesn’t stop here.
Academic success often reduces student misconduct. Believe it or not, students have a behavior “light bulb” too! Whenever both light bulbs are ”on,” genuine trust, between a student and teacher, develops. As a result, the teacher finds him or herself wearing the “proud parent” hat, which, by far, is one of the most rewarding “hats” to wear.
So, yes, teaching within an economically disadvantaged neighborhood school is definitely not for the faint of heart. This teaching assignment will test your mettle and resolve. Undoubtedly, you’ll experience a fair amount of highs and lows throughout the school year. However, if don’t mind partaking from the bittersweet tree, then this particular teaching assignment is waiting for you.