I have not checked in on my Blog in a while. It is now November of 2012 and just as this school year was getting ready to start, I was informed that I would not be returning to Newark...and it was not my choice.
They shut six public schools in the city and although mine was not one of them, they took a displaced music teacher from a closed school and moved him into my position. This had nothing to do with the job I was doing but because the teacher has tenure and I do not. It was a simple case of bureaucracy combined with seniority. It did not matter that I had formed relationships with many of the troubled children at the school nor that I managed to keep the strings program alive, stage four concerts and start a school drumline. I also helped many children through tough times - like my colleagues. I managed to do all of this and I am not even a "real" teacher. I am still trying to earn my certification...which is a whole other story.
I have learned a lot from my experience in Newark. In fact, I have learned so much that I am writing a full book about it. Many of those things will be covered here for every and no eyes to see. What about the education process in this country? How are we training teachers? How does our society view teachers? Should kids in an inner city like Newark be expected to learn like kids in a suburban community like mine?
I asked my kids last night why they think they have to learn science and math and do you know what their answer was? "I don't know." Mind you, my son is in advanced math and is a straight "A" student, my daughter is a straight "A" student as well and her reading level was just evaluated at a seventh grade level (she's in fifth). Despite this, they can't tell you why they are asked to learn the things they are. Why is that? If two kids from a suburban school district can't tell you why they are learning what they're learning do you think kids in the inner city can?
This is the tip of the iceberg and something that needs to be written about at length.