Bratty Fourth Graders Changed My Career

Diane Russell

I was fascinated with school during my childhood in the Chicago suburbs.  I idolized teachers, offered to grade tests for them, and played school with younger neighbors in our basement.

In September, 1970, I headed to the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, to start my major in elementary education. I loved my classes until my view of teaching elementary school became more realistic during my second semester of sophomore year. I observed a fourth-grade class of misbehaving lower-income students in Urbana. During spring break, I observed my fourth-grade sister’s class in suburban Chicago, only to discover that my sister’s teacher faced the same behavior problems. I sadly decided that I did not want a career disciplining students who did not want to learn.  (More…)

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