I am passionate about inner-city education. It’s why I teach.
I grew up in an affluent area and went to great schools. My parents always supported me and provided everything I needed to be successful. However, everything changed when I went off to college. It began when I worked a sports camp at an inner-city Austin school. Being around the students and community completely changed my perspective on life. It finally bursted the suburban bubble I grew up in and allowed me to see a snapshot of what the urban community goes through. It’s been four years since that moment, and I’ve had the privilege of teaching inner-city youth in Austin, Houston, and now Dallas. I’m so thankful for my experiences and the people I’ve had the opportunity to meet and learn from.
Why am I writing this post?
Through these experiences, I’ve encountered many unique challenges. One that’s remained true in every school is gaps in student understanding. This has been the case in each city I’ve been in. For various reasons, the great majority of the students I’ve taught have similar trouble spots. However, I believe this can change, and I believe in the students. I’m not writing to complain. I’m writing to request collaboration from anyone who is passionate about inner-city communities. Challenges should never become excuses. Through collaboration, we can meet our students where they are and teach them everything they need. We can fill the gaps.
I made a new page with the most common struggle areas I’ve encountered. This is not an exhaustive list, but I feel like it’s a good starting point. Within each topic, I’ve placed tasks that can help, but I know there are countless other resources out there. So, this is my appeal to you. If you have tasks, experiences, strategies, advice, etc. that you believe help fill the gaps, then I would love for you to share. So far, I’ve mainly used Geoff Krall’s wonderful Problem-Based Curriculum Maps to supplement each category. I also took a page from him and provided a Google Form for others to submit suggestions. Check out the page and see what you think.
My initial thought is to sprinkle in activities throughout the year in order to sure up these concepts. What are your suggestions? What have you found that’s worked? Are there other concepts that I’m leaving out?
Feel free to share any advice or comments you have. I would like to hear from as many people as possible because ultimately, the students will benefit.