Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Harolyn Bowden

Grade: K, 1

Location: Boston, MA

Setting: Urban

Years Teaching: 24

What are your biggest challenges as a teacher?

One challenge in working in an inner city school is that a lot of the children have emotional problems. They come from dysfunctional families and it's not easy for them to come to school -- their focus is someplace else. Sometimes they have behavioral issues as a result of their emotional problems, and my biggest challenge is to find the key to reach that child who is very disruptive or very angry. Another challenge I face is that a lot of the children are not as prepared for school as they need to be. They come without a lot of literacy experience. They come into the classroom holding books upside down, or not knowing where the books start. They haven't had a lot of language; they haven't had the experience of being read to. So my job of getting them to read is a little bit harder. And as a first grade teacher that's my primary goal.

What has been your biggest surprise in teaching?

Sometimes children are really late bloomers. I may think a child is just not making it, and then all of a sudden a light clicks on around April or May. It's a little late, but this child who has been struggling, who didn't know the alphabet or couldn't remember the word "the" or "and" suddenly begins reading. I see him having some kind of success, and feeling high self-esteem, and just blossoming. And that makes me feel very successful.

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