Title I schools are all I know. I’ve never worked for a school that wasn’t. These schools have some of the brightest and most creative students you’ll ever meet. If you build positive relationships, these kiddos will give you everything they have. A lot of the times, the kiddos aren’t where they should be academically, but if you’re consistent and building them up, they will be some of the best students you’ve ever had. If you work for a Title I school for the wrong reasons, you could be jeopardizing their ability to thrive. As teachers, we have to make sure we are doing the right thing when it comes to our kiddos. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t work for a Title I school.
For Financial Gain
In most careers, applying for a job for financial gain is the norm. When it comes to teaching, this should not be the main reason we want to work at a school. I’m not saying we shouldn’t know our worth and apply to the top paying schools, but it shouldn’t be the only reason why we want to work at a certain school.
Many of us know that our student loans can be forgiven if we work in a low-income area. While this may be a perk for most, some teachers seek out these schools solely for this purpose. I’ve heard of teachers who go to work in these areas long enough to qualify for the program and then leave. A great teacher doesn’t go into teaching to see what they can get, they do it to see what they can give.
There are also teachers who work in these areas just to gain experience as a teacher so that they can go to an affluent neighbor later. There is absolutely nothing wrong with working at a school and then finding out that it is not for you. But, going into it solely knowing that once you reap the benefits, you’re gone, is tacky.
They Don’t Respect Their Students or Their Culture
I have seen so many teachers work in their students’ neighborhoods and not make any attempt to get to know them. They are not willing to learn anything about their students or their culture. They think that it is okay to come into their students’ home and be a critic. Ya’ll, this is wrong. We don’t get to go into somebody else’s house and try to change them. Some teachers really try to do that. Then when it doesn’t work, they’ll punish their students for not abiding by their rules.
For example, I work in Texas, which, of course, has a large Latinx population. These students will sometimes call the female teachers Ms., and won’t include our last name. Some teachers get mad and tell the students, their name isn’t Ms. I’ve seen some teachers really get upset and go off on their students.
Here’s the thing, if you know just a teeny tiny bit of Spanish, you know that Ms. in Spanish is Senora. So teachers are literally upset at students for being respectful. How foolish is that? I don’t get it. They could be calling us way worse names and they’re mad for the students being respectful. That’s crazy as hell.
If we take a minute to ask or understand why our kiddos do certain things, we may learn that it is a cultural thing. We need to make sure we treating our students well, and punishing them because WE don’t respect or understand their culture is WRONG!
They Expect Parent Involvement to Be Easy
Working for a Title I school can be challenging, especially when it comes to parent involvement. Some schools are better than others, but there are many schools where it is hard to get parents involved. Most parents aren’t as involved as they would like to be because they work long hours or they simply just don’t know how.
We have to be flexible and willing to help parents learn how to help their kiddos at home. There are very few parents (honestly I’ve never had one) who simply just don’t care about what is going on at school.
We have to be creative to get parents involved. Give them resources with answer keys (this actually helps all parents), stop using teacher acronyms or words that someone outside of education wouldn’t understand, when you’re communicating with them. Be open to have parent informational nights during times that are convenient for them.
Ask them, how can you support them at home.
They’re Not Creative
In many Title 1 schools, students aren’t performing as well as those students in affluent areas. Teachers always want to blame the lack of parent involvement or resources for the sole reason why the kiddos aren’t doing well, but I don’t think that is it. From what I’ve seen, in some schools, it is the teachers who should take some of the blame.
If we know that we may not get the parent involvement that we want, what are we going to do about it? Once I see that a parent isn’t or can’t help at home as much as I may want, I figure out a plan to get my kiddos where they need to be without the support of the parents.
We can’t keep blaming the lack of our kiddo’s success on the things we know we can’t change. We have to be creative and think outside the box to get our kiddos engaged in school. You can start with learning their interests.
Sometimes Title I schools don’t have all the resources that are needed to make teaching easier. Teachers are some of the most creative people I know, and this is your time to shine.
Yes, schools being funded properly is desired, but I’ve created some dope lessons from nothing and my students loved them!
Students at Title I schools need the best teachers who are invested in their success. They deserve that.
When teachers go to these schools with ulterior motives, there’s no way they’re giving students their 100%.
We also have to be mindful of student’s differences and cultures. We can’t change those things, and it is not our job to do so.
Teaching at a Title I school can be a tough job, it is okay if it isn’t for you. Recognize it and move on, the students deserve a teacher that wants to be there.