It’s the season for the job hunt, whether you’re looking for your first job or taking the next step along your career path. Read these first-person accounts to see how teachers balance the rewards and challenges of working in different types of schools. What’s the right fit for you?

A Balancing Act

Read other first-person accounts from K-12 teachers.

Finding Classroom Resources

Creating Relationships with Parents

I teach 3rd grade at a public school in the nation’s seventh largest school district. Almost all of the students in my school are English language learners. Most of my students’ parents do not speak English. My school is a Title I school where 92% of the students receive a free or reduced-price lunch. Nearly all of our students live in one of four nearby apartment buildings. None of the buildings are recognized for their prestige, and two of them are well known for violence and gang activity. It may sound like I’m describing a troubled inner-city school, a difficult place to work that’s filled with bad teachers and bad students, but even inner-city schools differ from each other. What I’m actually describing is a successful inner-city school with a deeply engaged faculty and thriving students.

My school has consistently overcome the odds, regularly outperforming schools with similar demographics and continuously scoring well on Texas state assessments for over a decade. We earn those accomplishments because we are a professional learning community of new and experienced teachers supporting each other with ideas, encouraging each other through struggles, and appreciating every success, no matter how small the victory. We are buoyed in this process by a supportive and respectful administration.

We face many challenges. Our students don’t have the supplies they need. They don’t have computers at home. More troubling is that their parents are often unable to assist them with schoolwork because they do not speak or read English. Our students are behind their wealthier peers when they start school. They have deficits in oral language and world knowledge. Some of them have never been outside their neighborhood. We are charged with closing those gaps, teaching the year’s curriculum, and helping them pass the state achievement test. Essentially, we are commissioned to take these students who have not had the same kinds of experiences and opportunities as many of their peers and get them to perform as if they have.

Log in or become a member to read more!
Want to read the rest of this article? Pi Lambda Theta members enjoy full access to Educational Horizons online.