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Should I move to a higher income school?
Old 05-07-2009, 05:02 PM
 
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I am finishing up my 5th year in a very low income school. I have put in my 5 years to get half of my student loans forgiven from the government and am now pondering my options. My real problem with low income school is the hard kids and behaviors that come with it. The behaviors are the worst part of the job and I am starting to wear thin of the disrespectful attitudes from students. Some days are better than others, but the bad days really make me want to leave. I could be naive, but I can't see having these hard behavior problems if I worked in a middle class school. I'm sure there would be some problems, but not as many or as extreme. Part of me that just wants to teach and not disciple for the majority of my day really wants to move somewhere else. Although, I absolutely love my co-workers at my school and have a lot of support from my principal with behaviors. I would be very sad to lose the positive and support community I have at my school. What are your experiences with medium vs. low income schools and do you think I should transfer next year? TIA!


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Old 05-07-2009, 05:47 PM
 
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i've taught the very wealthy and the very poor. the wealthy kids are bigger PITA's in my opinion. from what i experienced, they thought they were entitled to everything and their parents demanded the same. the principal sided with the parents over the teachers all the time. i think anywhere you go, you're going to get a different version of difficult kids.

i teach in a very urban district now, and i wouldn't trade them in for anything.
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Kids are kids
Old 05-07-2009, 05:56 PM
 
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I have worked in a lower income school and a very affluent school. Kids are kids, they can be disrespectful no matter the income level. Both groups have behavior problems, in fact they have the same problems but for different reasons.

The problems remain in the more affluent school but maybe they aren't as extreme or as many. I think there are more problems with parents in the more affluent situation.

On the other hand having coworkers and a supportive principal is worth its weight in gold!

Good luck with your decision
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:17 PM
 
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I have hard years in affluent neighborhoods and poverty striken neighborhoods. I have had great kids in my class in both. The behavior problems can be more severe in the poorer areas sometimes but the parent problems can be more severe in the affluent areas. That is a generalization though so that is not necessarily the case.
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Thank you!
Old 05-08-2009, 06:21 AM
 
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Thanks so much! These are all very helpful replies. I will take them all in as I ponder my decision. I do have an amazing group of co-workers and principal who I can't imagine leaving. I never thought of the fact that I would trade 'kid' behaviors for 'parent' behaviors! lol Good points!


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Old 05-08-2009, 01:24 PM
 
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I have worked in a very affluent area, but I've also taught in very poor, urban areas. I prefer poor kiddos hands down! It is really about what set of problems you prefer and where your heart truly is/what your calling is. Here are some pros and cons I thought up for you to ponder:

Affluent Schools
Pros:
lots of parent involvement
could be safer (not always the case)
sometimes less behavior issues (My worse behavior problems have been in affluent schools, so it just depends)
More prestige
Students often get more help at home and come into the grade level on higher levels

Cons:
Different kinds of behavior issues (spoiling, entitlement, immaturity due to being babied)
Parent issues (entitlement, pressure, being too involved, picky, bad parenting,etc.)
Politics (if you aren't a part of the community you can be ignored by co-workers and parents)
Pressure, pressure, and more pressure to be perfect and to put on a great show for parents and the community
Principal will most often side with the parents
High stress



Low Income Schools

Pros
Feel like you are making a big difference
Not as high pressure to be "perfect"
Often a great sense of community or family
Often get to teach more of what you think is best for the students
Not expected to put on a huge show
Kids are usually grateful and less spoiled
Less high stress due to high pressure
Diversity of students and families
government funding for supplies
(hopefully) less stressed principal

Cons
Behavior (often a result of difficult home life)
Emotionally draining
Less parent involvement (not always the case)
Hard not to take the work and worries home with you




Hope that helps!
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Old 05-08-2009, 02:39 PM
 
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I love my job in the inter-city and do know I make a difference. But I have only taught at this 1 school for 6 years & it is my 2nd career. I agree with lovepoorones's pro/con.
Quote:
Although, I absolutely love my co-workers at my school and have a lot of support from my principal with behaviors. I would be very sad to lose the positive and support community I have at my school.
I think this is the most important thing about teaching, support. Good Luck with your decision.
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I've taught both...
Old 05-08-2009, 03:45 PM
 
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I taught for nine years in a fairly affluent school. There were plenty of good things about it: more money, more involved parents, more motivated students Those were probably the top three positives for me. The negatives--kids who could (although usually weren't) more snobby and parents who were too concerned.

I currently teach in a lower income (although not poor) area. There's certainly less money and resources, kids are less academically inclined, and while the parents all love and care about their kids most are not professionals and certainly don't value academics as highly as at my previous school. However, it's definitely a lower pressure job and the school has more of a "family" feel. (Most likely because it's a much smaller school.)

I thoroughly enjoyed teaching at both schools. As pp said, kids are kids. I've had behavior problems (and wonderful kids) in both schools.
I've had extremely tough and dream years both places. Teaching in an affluent area certainly does not erase all problems!!

For me, teaching at my previous school was probably more professionally challenging and rewarding. It was pleasant not to have to worry about funds--or spend so much of my own money. It was also a delight to have such motivated students and parents.

I think you will really have to balance the pros and cons. If you have good co-workers, a supportive principal and a great community in your current situation those are three great reasons to stay where you're at!!! (Affluent schools are not the "Garden of Eden!!")
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Old 05-08-2009, 04:36 PM
 
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I've taught for 23 years in a Title I school in a poor, urban setting. I love the students and their families and we are a very close staff with a committed principal. I know there are perks that go along with teaching in a more affluent, suburban district, and others often look down their noses at those of us who teach in my district. I feel that it takes a special teacher to teach in an urban setting and your heart definitely needs to be in it for the kids and the difference you can make in their lives.
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Great posts!
Old 05-09-2009, 07:09 AM
 
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Thanks to all for your posts. You all have some incredible insight that I had never considered or heard before. It makes me realize that behavior problems will not go away with a different school's income level and that I will have to accept that behaviors will always be a part of my job. I am starting to realize how good I have it with a supportive community of co-workers and awesome principal. The kids can be hard in a low income school, but you are all right, it is rewarding and low stress. I will definitely stay in my current situation and look at the glass more half full now. Thank you very much and have a wonderful (upcoming) summer!


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Old 05-09-2009, 07:25 PM
 
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I have taught at both. I am at a high risk school now. Its my first year here. The staff has welcomed me along with the parents. Children are Children. I feel like I am truly appreciated here by all.
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:33 AM
 
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I am glad you are staying at your current school. Those kids need you. Having worked in many different schools, I think working in low income areas is hard but waaaay more rewarding. Some of those kiddos with family money can be so spoiled and self-righteous. I hate going to meetings with family attorneys. Believe me, principals always side with parents when a lawsuit is threatened.
I know it can be frustrating to work with poor kids, their family situations seem helpless, they learn behaviors from the community, you have to deal with police, probation officers, social services, but these kids need you You may be the only predictable constant in their life!
Some affluent schools have more money, but not all! In my district the lower income schools have the most money. I currently work in a middle class (lower middle class) school and I do have a nice mix of both. I do not have an aide, we have NO money and support fluctuates. I like my school, though. I think feeling like you are supported and making a difference is the one thing that you should not trade--it can make or break you.
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@ lovepoorones
Old 05-13-2009, 07:50 AM
 
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Great response. I have not taught in an affluent area and your delineation helped my understanding. One more con for the poor ones: really bad stuff happens in the poor neighborhoods. Two years ago a former student of mine was murdered (stabbed) by her stepfather.

Number one reason to stay in the poor area: you can make a difference.
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Old 05-13-2009, 04:45 PM
 
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I have taught in a Title1 School for almost 30 years. I don't know anything different. It is a calling. I tell the people at my church that while I do admire them for going on foreign mission trips, I go into a mission field everyday. That is truly the way I feel about it. About every 5-7 years I will change it up by teaching a different grade level in order to avoid burn-out. You have to do what you need to do to stay fresh. Good luck!
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politics
Old 05-14-2009, 02:25 AM
 
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Someone mentioned that if you are not part of the "rich" community, you are dismissed and left out because of politics. That has been my experience. Not many teachers can afford living in the community in which I teach. I live pretty far away. I have given up trying to be part of the community I teach in. The reality is that any of us will be forgotten the moment we don't teach in a particular school anymore. So sad.
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I've worked in both
Old 05-15-2009, 01:25 PM
 
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I've worked in both upper income and low income schools. My experiences:

Upper income: lot of parent involvement, well educated parents who appreciate your efforts to teach their children, children who come to school prepared to learn, very few discipline problems, cheerful students who are well loved and taken care of, children who tend to get higher test scores and make test preparation less work for the teacher

Low income: very little parent involvement, single-parent home (Dad's in jail. Mom's an alcoholic. Being raised by grandma.), parents who think that their children have "RIGHTS!," and you aren't providing them, more fights and discipline problems (Dad teaches son to fight at school to solve problems), students who are neglected (I worked with some who were homeless), tremendous push to help low-performing children who get no support at home to perform on end-of-grade tests (burden rests on classroom teacher to do this).

I am sure there are many rewards to teaching in low-income schools and making a difference in a child's life. However, it is not for everybody. You can burn out on it, as I did. I would say that if you are happy on your job, though, you may want to consider staying on. The main reason I left my low-income school is that I burned out because I had no administrative or parent support.
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upper income not a bed of roses
Old 05-16-2009, 04:38 AM
 
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"Upper income: lot of parent involvement, well educated parents who appreciate your efforts to teach their children, children who come to school prepared to learn, very few discipline problems, cheerful students who are well loved and taken care of, children who tend to get higher test scores and make test preparation less work for the teacher"

I disagree. Our professional counselors and psychologist think we have a higher number of severe behavior problems in our upper income district. There is lots of parental involvement but only if it directly benefits their child or if they can "buy influence or classroom placement". The expectations are huge with mommies discussing teachers at the soccer games or the country club. I do lots of test prep because it is hard to maintain a 98%ile year after year! I have a good reputation but the snakes can come out and attack if little Petunia feels sad for some reason. The mommies eat the insecure young teachers for breakfast! I feel so sorry for young teachers who don't know how to work with rich mommies. They are the WORST.
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Old 05-16-2009, 04:56 AM
 
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It depends the district, I do believe.

As a sub. in both an urban school and rural/moderate income school, I would say I would prefer number 2. Why?

1. Parents in the second community are grateful of the education.
2. Community (AND I MEAN WHOLE COMMUNITY) support is amazing.
3. The students are very respectful.
4. The parents are caring and appreciative.
5. The parents support the teachers and administration - for the most part. Much higher support than in the urban school.
6. The students are years, academically, beyond their urban peers.
7. Most students complete in-class and homework assignments, rather than doing nothing.
8. Met AYP, which creates less stressed staff. School number one has not met AYP for four years.
9. Less test cram.

I know of one family that had taken their children out of an elite school ($15,000 per year education) and placed their child at two for the opportunities.
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I agree but
Old 05-16-2009, 07:43 AM
 
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upper income area schools aren't a bed of roses. But, that said, I agree with your comments about choosing the upper vs. schools with huge problem populations.
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a difference
Old 06-12-2009, 04:31 PM
 
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you really feel like you can change a life in a low income school. that's a great feeling.
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