#SOL Comparison: Urban vs. Suburban School

Today I went to school with my daughter. Her spring break was last week, mine is this week. She spent two days in my classroom while visiting us near Chicago. I drove back with her to St. Louis where she teaches. Her school is different in so many ways:

It’s 1 – 6, mine is K – 5.
Her students arrive at 8:30 and don’t leave until 4:30, mine arrive at 8:10 and leave at 3:30.
She has 25 students, i have 17.
Her students all receive free lunch, none of mine do.
She has limited resources and buys her own paper, we always have supplies and paper available.
Her students are one-to-one with computers, we have 9 computers per room.
Her room is not cleaned and vacuumed carefully, I never thought of how lucky I am to have a clean room each day.
She has limited storage, I have plenty.
She supervises recess after lunch, we don’t.
Her books need to be organized by levels (:-( ), mine are organized by genre.|
Students move in and out during the year, ours seldom do.
Her students wear uniforms, mine wear designer and sports wear.
She didn’t receive a raise this year, I did.
Her school is twice as big as mine with four principals, we have one principal.

I’m pretty sure there are more schools like hers than like mine. I wish there was a way to even things out. I worry about our country’s future. I think about “white privilege” in ways I never had before. I help in ways I can, however small they may be, I know it’s not enough. I look at the teachers in her school, most dedicated and hardworking, facing obstacles you can’t imagine unless you are there. I have hope, but worry.


3 thoughts on “#SOL Comparison: Urban vs. Suburban School

  1. lvahey says:

    Your daughter is incredibly lucky to have you visiting and noticing… I think it’s rare for teachers to get to visit contexts that are different (urban, suburban, rural; K-2 vs. high school; small schools vs. big comprehensive schools; charters, religious and private schools). I ALWAYS learn something new when I push myself to visit someplace different. I wish I could send her some paper, but I’m definitely sending her good energy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. karpenglish says:

    It is such a shock to see the differences, isn’t it? I remember visiting my sister’s first classroom- non-English speaking 2nd graders in inner city LA, and the school was LIGHT YEARS from our own schooling experiences. She paid for EVERYTHING in her classroom herself, including instructional materials for all subjects, as she was escorted to an empty room at the beginning of her first year and more or less told her “here you go.” I set her children’s books in Spanish whenever I had any money to spare, and the kids practiced their writing by drawing me pictures from the books and writing me thank you cards. When I became a teacher too a few years later, even my underfunded/high-poverty rural school looked like a paradise compared to her first school assignment.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. teachingbychance says:

    There is definitely a huge difference between the two. My school sounds a lot like your daughter’s school! Yet, I am also in a suburban school in Illinois. Close to Chicago, but not quite the city. This is my first year, so I am seeing the major differences from where I previously (student) taught!


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