The Transition in Perspective from City School Teacher to City School Parent

j0439367By Nick McDaniels – Today begins my 7th year in Baltimore City Schools after graduating from Marquette. I still love my job. I’m still improving. And I still have a lot to say about it.

But today is also my daughter’s first day of kindergarten in Baltimore City Schools. This will undoubtedly shape my experience as a teacher and will certainly shift my perspective on education in our city. She is attending a traditional public school in our neighborhood as I declined to participate in the charter school movement. That particular decision, for me, came from disappointment I felt as many “progressive” charter operators supported charter school de-unionizing legislation at the state level this past year. Thank goodness my kid does not have to go to a union-busting school!

When thinking about the issues that impact me as a teacher this year, few compare to the issues that will affect me as a parent over the coming school years. Over-testing is a burden on my conscience for me as a teacher, but will be a real, practicable burden on my child’s education. Discipline policies have had my mind and soul wrestling over recent years, but, until now, those policies have not impacted my child. Overcrowded classrooms have at times diminished my hope for real transformational education. Now my daughter gets to compete for the attention of a teacher and such a reality becomes even clearer for my family.

Despite these large-scale issues that befall our system, the good news for me is that I get to return this year to a stable high school, the largest in the district, and my daughter gets to attend one of our district’s best public schools led by a great principal and teachers. For that I am grateful.

I look forward to engaging myself now in anyway I can to assist the teachers who are trying to give my daughter the best education possible, just as I look forward to teaching the children of others as if they were my own. Now, though, that sentiment has a deeper meaning.

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