Neighborhoods no longer serve as Americans' primary social networks or source of friends and advisers. More and more, these aspects of life are becoming part of the workplace; offices have even been called the new neighborhood.
The key is to acknowledge the fear and move forward. I knew it would be a tough day at school, but I also knew I'd get through it and eventually I'd have new friends. I knew I'd get through that job interview and either get the position or land another somewhere else.
The financial struggles of Detroit and its schools are well-known -- yet hardly an isolated case. Schools are facing short funds and long odds in innumerable cities across the country and, frankly, can use all the help they can get.
Teacher appreciation and validation is typically minimal and short. It usually comes during a faculty meeting in a 60-seconds or less "shout out" or in a quick conversation passing by in the hallway or standing in line for the copier.
Why did I write the letter if all of these things are true? Because over the past eleven years, I have been more and more concerned over the 15-20 percent of students who have given up on their education.
At some point, we tacitly consented to the notion that providing only 20 percent of the children in Harlem, those that win the lottery and go to charter schools, with adequate teachers, equipment and food, is a morally acceptable public policy.
I am shocked -- SHOCKED! -- to hear people advocating for higher salaries for American educators. Financial success and teachers go together like polar bears and ice: they desperately need it, and it's not like they're running out.
It's a disheartening and messy time in Philadelphia's school system. Some days I wake up and wonder if things will ever get better -- will we ever be able to look our children in the eyes and tell them that every school is equipped with the resources they need to get a quality education?
As teachers, our purpose is not to teach to the standards anymore than the purpose of building a house is to adhere to the building codes. You build a house to live in. We teach students so they become productive members of society.
My 5-year-old has what we like to call "sensitive skin." It's lily-white, soft, and so translucent, it nearly glows. She has a scar on her forehead that needs extra care. And after 15 minutes of recess without sunscreen, she's as red as lobster.