This is Lincoln Park High School (Chicago, IL, USA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Heloise has been teaching in Texas for over a decade. It was plan B for me. Plan A was to go to medical school. Taking a science degree is how I met another future science teacher (black women make up less than 1% of science teachers in the US) Karen Lewis and I became fast friends and ended up science teachers.
I lived in Chicago on and off for most of my life. As stated in my last article I attended Catholic school for 12 years and except for one horrible year in a public school vowed I would never go back to a CPS.
I’ve been here since 1997. While living in Chicago my kids were in elementary school while I was at Chicago State to get my BS in science.
My daughter in second grade was told by her teacher that she “could not read.” When I found out that she could not read I took her out of that local Chicago Public School, tutored her at home and put her in a better CPS.
Finally, I moved to Carbondale because I thought I would go to their medical school and also to get them out of Chicago because I knew I could not afford Catholic School tution it was over 2K a year and I did not have the money. I was a poor student on food stamps and student grants. So they completed education in Carbondale PS. That worked out well because now my daughter has a clinical doctorate in physical therapy and my son just got his master’s in divinity.
What are the chances if they had remained in CPS?
Here in Texas we are beholden to the stinkin state tests. Now called STAAR test. Then there was TAKS then something before that. My students have continually made progress on the science test regardless to what they have been called.
I have not received any merit pay. There are no unions here. I don’t need unions because they don’t help because in Texas they are not unions. Our salary is decent because the cost of living is low in my town. I bought my house before the area got expensive.
Unlike Chicago or CPS we teachers do not have to live in the city that we teach in. YES, Chicago teachers MUST LIVE in CHICAGO! The rents are high there but so is their salary. Most buy homes or condos. I know a few who lived, stupidly, in apartments for decades. Then finally bought a home in Chicago.
Yes, Karen is very well educated. We met at CSU but she attended Dartmouth for undergrad. I did not go to expensive schools but a small private school in California and finished at CSU to become a doctor. Well, neither of us became doctors. We met because she and my cousin and myself planned to become doctors or dentists. My cousin did succeed but Karen and I became teachers. There is nothing wrong with that. Everyone cannot be a teacher and not just because of the educational requirements.
Yes, teachers, most are highly educated. There are lots of hoops to jump through in order to become a teacher. In my experience the black teachers down here were forced to leave teaching because they could not pass the many tests required.