Elementary School Teacher

Elementary School Teacher


10 Years Experience

Boston, MA

Female, 31

I'm an elementary school teacher in a low income district. I work with upper elementary students. I teach English and math.

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15 Questions


Last Answer on February 16, 2019

Best Rated

Do you have favorite kids in your class? (It's cool, you can admit it on the Internet)

Asked by BS almost 4 years ago

I wouldn't say that I have "favorites" but just like with other adults, there are kids you get along better with than others. It doesn't affect teaching, but it's those recess moments while you chat. Of course, other kids are "favorites" because their situations are so difficult that your heart breaks for them. I like each child for different reasons. I've never had a kid I couldn't stand.

What's it like teaching in a low-income district? Is it more challenging and do you ever wish you taught in a wealthier school?

Asked by Ted almost 4 years ago

It's difficult teaching in a low income district. My students are at a disadvantage from the start. Many parents try very hard, but aren't able to participate in after school activities or help their child study as much as they would like due to work obligations. Many of my students also aren't able to provide their own school supplies. My district doesn't have the money to purchase them, either, so I end up buying them. I love the students I teach, though, and wouldn't change it.

What do you think needs to be changed about America's education system RIGHT NOW?

Asked by opz almost 4 years ago

The extreme emphasis on standardized testing is out of control. Kids can't graduate from high school unless they pass high stakes tests. As young as second and third grade students are experiencing anxiety over tests! Teachers are being held accountable if their students "don't pass" as well. It's hard to describe the feeling of knowing that the scores of 30 students will determine your evaluation rating. If a student comes in hungry or tired because their parent did not feed them or put them to bed, they will not perform as well as they should. Teachers have no control over that. Similarly, students have no control over what their parents do for them. It's a system that has been manufactured by the companies that create the tests. For instance, one national company is publishing the newest high stakes national test. They also published the math textbook I teach with, which was purchased about 4 years ago. This textbook does NOT address everything that is covered on the test. What does that mean? Time to buy a new textbook.

What do kids from lower income neighborhoods aspire to be when they grow up? I've always wondered whether there are just as many who dream of becoming doctors, lawyers, etc, or whether their 'bar' is set lower because of humbler upbringings?

Asked by Dallas Cowboys almost 4 years ago

For the most part, they have big hopes and dreams like any other child. I've had students that have wanted to be everything from President of the United States to astronauts to teachers to ballerinas. I think they are too young to notice any difference in their socioeconomic status. They still believe they can be anything, and I want to help them hold on to that. They CAN achieve anything if they do not let go of the dream!

Is all the controversy around "new math" justified?

Asked by Euclid almost 4 years ago

Yes and no. Yes, the math is taught in new way, but the concepts are the same. I agree that students should be taught as many strategies as they can to figure out an answer. I disagree with the idea that all students need to know every way to solve every problem for a test, though. I think that students should use whatever method they would like on a test. If they are correct and can show their work to prove it, then it should be marked correct. There may be more to this in the upper grades that I am not aware of, though.

When you meet parents of the disobedient kids, are they typically what you expect? Like do you find yourself thinking "yup, no wonder this kid's a terror"?

Asked by Jules1 almost 4 years ago

Sometimes, I do think that the behavior that kids show is a direct result of parenting. It's hard for a lot of parents to discipline, they would rather be friends with their children. I am always surprised when kids tell me about waiting in line at midnight for a new video game release. That's not really the best choice for an elementary school student on a weeknight! Other times, I think that circumstances unfortunately negatively affect children. If parents are working 2 or 3 jobs and leave the children home alone after school, it's nearly impossible to ensure that homework will be completed, dinner will be eaten, and the child will get to bed.

How does teacher placement work? Did you have a say in what school you went to? Did you WANT to go to a low-income school?

Asked by JYD almost 4 years ago

Teacher placement varies by district. You can apply to a city, to a specific school, or both. I applied to the specific school I work in. I love the school, the staff, and the kids! I did my student teaching here and really fell in love with the school. Technically, I could be transferred to any school in the city at any time. In fact, the first 3 years you are teaching any teacher with seniority can take your specific job if they want it.

Do the students, young as they are, seem to have an understanding that they come from less privileged upbringings?

Asked by Jessie almost 4 years ago

I think they do probably understand it, but it has never been a problem in my classroom. They are all at a similar socioeconomic status, so it isn't overtly obvious. They are young enough, too, that they look past many things still.

How much faith should we put in those news stories that suggest that US kids are performing terribly compared to other countries? Are they just trumped up for news stories, or is the situation really THAT bad?

Asked by Prof Chaos almost 4 years ago

I think that kids in the US are probably underperforming compared to other countries, but I don't think the full story is being told. Our kids are over-tested, and our schools are underfunded. No one wants to put more money in school budgets because it means tax increases or cuts elsewhere. Our teachers work considerably more than teachers in other countries for much less money. In several of the top performing countries, teachers are in the classroom providing instruction for half of the day and planning, training, and grading the other half of the day. In the US no prep time is guaranteed nationally. Teacher's contracts dictate the amount of time you receive. It is generally 40 minutes per day three to five times a week. Lunch is also not guaranteed to be "duty free" and you may have to supervise. During the times that teachers are in the classroom, we are being pushed to teach to a high stakes test. This year alone, I spent 16 days giving my students standardized tests. This isn't even including classroom assessments! I think that a shift in thinking needs to occur before our schools and students will be competitive with other nations.

What do you think about teacher unions and do you belong to one? Do you HAVE to? If you don't, do other teachers who are in the union look down on you?

Asked by Amy almost 4 years ago

I am a member of my local union, and I am proud to be one. It is optional, but only around 10 teachers in my large city are not members. I am from the Northeast, which is heavily pro-union. I also come from a family that believes deeply in the union. Without the union, I am sure that pay would be even less and demands be even more!

Hi there, my question is this. As a grade 2 teacher, should you monitor the books that your students read? and should parents be consulted in advance in regard to the books their children are being read? or should they have choice? Thanks

Asked by Laura over 1 year ago

Teachers should carefully choose books that are in their classroom libraries. However, teachers should not monitor every book that a student chooses from their classroom library. In my opinion, parents should not be notified about every book their child is reading. It would be incredibly time consuming, considering that many students in second grade can read 2 - 4 books a day!

Why do teachers really give group projects?

Asked by anonymous over 1 year ago

Research shows that students learn best when they interact and collaborate. A good teacher uses a healthy mix of group projects, independent projects/work, and reflection.

What is the best way to be on your phone and keep it hidden from the teacher?

Asked by Katie 11 days ago

There isn't a way.... we know EVERYTHING.... ;) Seriously, put the phone away. It's good for you to have a little technology detox, I promise.

What is it like working with special needs students?

Asked by lakhjfj39 11 days ago

I think an experience with a special needs student can be just as varied as an experience with a typical student. Some kids with different abilities are more difficult to work with than others, just as some typical kids can be more difficult to work with than others. Kids that have special needs are still just kids when it comes down to it.

I heard a stereotype that most teachers are liberals. Do you think that is true in general?

Asked by If 6 days ago

I think that teachers have political views as varied as any other career. In my part of the country (Boston) there are far more people with liberal views than there are in other parts of the country, so it would only stand to reason that we would have many teachers that have liberal political views. I don't know for certain though, as we really don't talk about national politics at work. You may hear us grumbling about local politics, school committees, or budgets, but that's typically the extent of it.