Sunday, March 16, 2014

A week with the public school system

So from now until the end of the traditional school year, I will be working as a substitute teacher.  Long story....maybe I will explain in another post at a later time.   This experience isn't new to me.  When I first started homeschooling 5 years ago I spent one semester subbing in my younger kids' elementary school.  Back then I was only homeschooling my oldest daughter. It was a eye opening experience then, and an even bigger eye opening experience now.

The difference between then and now is the type of system I'm working in.  Every public school district isn't created equally.  I am working within an inner city school environment.  I can't begin to put my experience into words except that I am saddened by the state of things.  The teachers are really exhausted.  If I had to keep the attention spans of 17 five year olds, I would be too.  Some kids are eager to learn but are so distracted by disruptive behavior.  Teachers have to spend so much time controlling children's behavior they rarely get adequate time to teach.  I've found myself thinking at times "this kid really should be home right now playing outside or reading a book!"

I've seen a 5 year slap another child in the face, a 5 year old punching a kid in the stomach, a teacher curse at a child (yes, a teacher), kids getting hurt while waiting in lunch line, and so much crude behavior.  I won't even expound on the academic skills of some of these kids.  I've also found myself thinking about the homeschooling naysayers - "but what about socialization?"  Have you seen the socialization in schools lately?  Again, not every school but I don't think anyone could argue with a parent homeschooling within this district.

I don't want to be the Pharisee in Matthew who while praying was full of pride and self-righteousness when declaring how glad he was that he wasn't like the sinner praying alongside him at the synagogue.  However, I am thankful for the privileges I've had with my own kids.  I wish so much to educate the parents of these inner city kids.  They can do so much more to empower themselves to do better for their children.  Everybody can do some after schooling or at the very least do the homework the teacher sends home.  There is very little parent involvement with these kids.  No one is doing homework or reading with them at home.   There is no excuse for that!  I know the problem is not as simple as I've stated - educating the parent.  There are some deep rooted issues here that aren't so simple to solve.

Although I am working for the benefit of compensation (unlike most people), I take seriously the impact I can make on a child when I read them a book, or work with them one on one to understand a concept.  Education has the power to change lives and to break the cycle of illiteracy and generational poverty.  I believe it really is that serious.  Stay tuned for my posts on this new Educational Journey.

So what have my kids been doing while I'm been working this week?
  • Princess is reading the Red Badge of Courage & working on scholarship essays.
  • NuNu is reading the Bronze Bow & working through Videotext.
  • Pumpkin is steadily working through MFW AHL & working through Videotext.
  • They spent hours swimming at the hotel on Thursday as their grandparents were in town and stays at the local Marriott.


  1. I totally understand what you are saying. I had a similar experience last school year. It is sad that the kids don't start off with a fair chance. I hope your week goes well!

  2. After homeschooling my two dd's, I began teaching in a public school a year and a half ago. It is a parent partnership program; essentially I teach home schooled children one day a week. I SO relate to what you have written. Obviously, the kids I teach have a much different background than the ones at your school but essentially, your observations are my own. I too, want to educate their parents...

    1. BTW, your daughter's are beautiful!



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