I just finished my undergraduate and will be starting on my master's in the fall for childhood special education. Here's what I've noticed about education so far.
The main problem honestly comes from the institutes of higher learning that the teachers are coming from. They don't teach you to work with all types of students, they teach you how to teach to the "typical suburban classroom". I think in my entire undergraduate career I had one single seminar about teaching in an urban school district and even then, they brought in a guest lecturer to discuss the topic. I had one class on teaching students with disabilities that I voluntarily took and was not required in order to graduate. This institute is considered one of the best educational schools in new york state, yet, they predominately taught to one style of learning and teaching.
Handing out pamphlets, packets, long-winded reading assignments, and pages of notes on a projection were the norm. That was what they did in their predominately suburban high schools, that's what they continued to learn how to do in their college careers, and that's what they are going to take with them into the teaching field. No matter how "great" they were in there degree programs, when faced with students that don't fit into the bubble that these programs created, most teachers panic and don't know what to do. They figure students will catch on, or stay after if they really need the help. Maybe, out of some crazy notion, teachers will have them work in pairs or groups, mostly just furthering the disruption and commotion that occurs when more than one student together can't figure out how to complete the work.
20% of all teachers that go into urban schools quit within the first five years. In many schools, that number is greater than the number of students that they have dropping out! Teachers are getting burnt out and looking for careers in other fields or in districts that they feel more comfortable with. Frankly, most teachers take jobs in the urban school districts because they pay more. They want their teachers to stay more than a few years!
My request to work in the Rochester City School District for my student teaching was ignored. I received two placements in suburban school districts in the area, one of these was bordering on the city. I remember being told by my supervisor that I should be cautious going into my second placement, that I may not succeed at first, if at all, and that these "minority students" may be harder to work with than I anticipated. I ignored her, jumped right in, and loved every minute of it, but yes, my teaching technique changed over time. I couldn't teach how I had been taught to and I think that's the important part that all teachers need to understand.
Adapt, change, try new things, go out of your comfort zone, and you may find ways to teach your students you never expected. This can be true of any school district your in!
-A Future Educator