What is it like to Teach in Inner City Schools?

Inner city schools desperately need teachers who can handle the hardships of working with students who come from poor families and often face violence at home and on the streets. Teachers who teach in inner city schools face everyday challenges that could increase their risk of developing stress disorders and other conditions, but those teachers also have a better chance of developing strong relationships with their students. Teach for America, and other similar programs, give college graduates the chance to work in schools with greater needs for teachers. Here are some things to consider if you are thinking about teaching opportunities in inner city schools.

Less Control Over Curriculum

Lisa Rose, a teacher working in inner city Detroit, discovered that one of the hardest things associated with teaching in poorer areas was the lack of control over curriculum. As an education student, you learn the fundamentals of designing your own curriculum and deciding how you want to teach your students. Inner city schools often use assignments and teaching methods found online or those used by past or presents teachers at the school. Jones found that the school gave each teacher a folder filled with paperwork that told them how to teach their students and documented everything they needed to do throughout the year.

Fewer Supplies Available

Those working in suburban schools often find that the schools provide them with many supplies. Students today also receive a list of school supplies that they need to bring to school with them. Those lists often include items for the classroom, including tissues, paper towels and art supplies that the kids share. Teachers working in inner city schools often find that they have limited supplies available to them. They may only get printer paper, a few pairs of scissors and a few extra pencils from the school and few additional supplies from the students. Many inner city teachers spend money out of their own pockets on necessary supplies for their students.

Rougher Students

If you decide to teach in inner city schools, you will most likely encounter students with troubled everyday lives. Whether you work in New York City, Detroit, New Orleans, Los Angeles or any other inner city area, you might have students in your classroom who are pregnant, use illegal drugs or have gang affiliations. You may also have students with absent parents and younger siblings they are trying to raise.  Overall, inner city students typically face many struggles and many new teachers find that they have difficulty getting those students interested in learning, doing their homework or even listening in class.

More Personal Relationships

While working in the inner city is hard, you might find that you form more personal relationships with your students. There will be challenging students, however you’ll have students who truly care about your lessons and want to do better in school. To these students, you will not only be a teacher, but you’ll have the opportunity to become a mentor who will help to shape their futures.

Inner city schools have a bad reputation for gang problems, unmotivated students, and inadequate resources. While this is often true, there are students motivated to rise past the reputation and be successful. Teachers often find that helping students provides the motivation to work through the resource issues that typically plague inner city schools.