A Phillie Teacher

I was a starry-eyed teacher from New Jersey. Now I work for Philadelphia Public Schools.

How can I teach you when you’re not here??

Posted by aphillieteacher on May 30, 2010

I Deleted Pictures of Students Streaming from my School to Avoid My Identification

Sure, talk to me about merit pay. About teaching effectively and meeting benchmarks.

Meanwhile I would like to speak about Philadelphia’s lack of attendance policies and their lack of effort in keeping the kids in school.

Average attendance at Philadelphia Public Schools ranges between 70-80%. I have no idea if they track the attendance by end of the day. They should.

The exodus you see in these photos happens all day long, all year long and no one lifts a finger to stop it.

I have students with records showing 527 cuts for this school year alone. Nothing done about it. Meanwhile, the public wants to hold me responsible for not meeting goals.

Not acceptable. Not acceptable at all. I’m getting damned tired of being kicked around.


6 Responses to “How can I teach you when you’re not here??”

  1. ricochet said

    You might want to fix the placement of the pics. I cut the words and pasted them into notepad to read.

    I had a girl ask me Friday for a reference. How can I write a reference? She has missed 2/3 of my classes. She has maintained her grade in my class by disrupting the class she is supposed to be in and the one where she finally makes it to school. She then has the audacity/nerve/balls/chutzpah to ask me for help with another teacher’s final (this would be the class she leaves to come to mine to figure out what she missed)! When she took my final, she kept asking questions and I told her that was what the review was for. “but I’m no good at math.”

    Well, math is apparently something she cannot pick up on her own and for which she should have come to school.


    • Exactly. As those kids stream out of the building, it never occurs to them that something of value is going on in the classrooms.

      All they think about is the immediate pleasure of using their (free) city bus passes to go who-knows-where with their other non-educated friends.

      And this is the teachers’ fault?

  2. Eric said

    I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be for you to be held responsible for such a high percentage of students who don’t even show up for class in the first place! Are their parents aware of this? What are their reactions?

    • Generally parents don’t know what their children are doing for a number of reasons. The student can intercept phone messages/mail from the school or the parent may not be notified until there is a larger problem which requires the parent to come to school. Then all the truth comes out.

      I’ve seen parents out and out cry when they hear their child has done so badly. Others shove, hit or curse their kid. Do things change? generally not. Parents can get worn down by a child who willfully misleads his parents.

  3. […] an unfortunate reality for many teachers in Philadelphia.  Here's a powerful blog post from Philly Teacher, who exclaims, "How can I teach when you're not here?" dbf4984a-77c1-4574-8096-ba242fe7de53|0|.0 […]

  4. Mark said

    What a challenging environment! I teach in a suburban school and do not face these issues. I can only imagine what a drain it can be on your teaching. I hope you get the support you need from your administration.

    I am sure you are a great teacher, focus on what you can control. Do the best with the students you have each day and remember that you are making a difference in many of your students’ lives.

    Hanover, MA

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