Kids Deserve Excellent Educators, No Matter Their Zip Code

874b86f3105737ab43e71ac400064176By Shannon Bentley – Hey readers! I hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July!

For the past few weeks after graduation, I have been thinking about what I want to do with my life after City Year. In my previous blog post, I explained to you all the “so what’s next” question, and how that can overstimulate some graduates in to getting in to a career right away. However, the end of summer is coming really fast, and even though I have a set position for the next school year with City year, I have to start applying for teaching jobs for the 2016-17 school year.

First, I had to consider where I would want to apply.

I thought about applying only in Milwaukee, but just to increase my chances of getting a teaching job, I thought about applying outside of the Wisconsin/Milwaukee area. People are usually curious about where those places might be and I tell them the following: Houston, Texas, New Orleans, Louisiana, Atlanta, Georgia, and even Chicago, Illinois. The last city of course brings the curiosity out of everybody I tell. “Why Chicago?”; “That’s where most of the shootings happen!”; “I don’t want you to get hurt!”; etc. These are the many comments I come across, but it’s understandable why it brings so much concern amongst everyone.

During the Fourth of July weekend, over 40 people were either wounded or killed in shootings. The fatal shootings even included a few children under the age of 10 – and yes, it is a very sad and scary situation. Therefore, why would I dare to move to a city that has such a high rate of homicides and crime?

The answer is simple – people have become too accustomed with moving away from a problem rather than trying to change it themselves. I am an educator, I can’t be picky about where I want to teach because I have a firm belief that all children deserve a good teacher no matter the socioeconomic status or zip code.

Let’s be honest: There is crime everywhere in many major cities – there is no escaping it. In Milwaukee, there have been multiple cookouts and rallies to bring awareness to the homicides that occur in the low poverty neighborhoods. Those people are not trying to leave or escape the situation, they want to change it. The people are also showing that they are not afraid to bring peace and safety into their neighborhoods.

I am an educator who wants to give children a good teacher. It doesn’t matter where I go because the important value that I keep in mind is that no one gets left behind. Chicago needs teachers just as much as any other city, and instead of trying to force me to stay within my comfort zone, people should try to uplift me and praise me for taking on a risk that most would not even want to take.

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