Challenges Teachers Face When Working at Inner City Schools

Photo Courtesy of

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Many students in inner city schools come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and they have different languages, religions and customs. Teachers need to familiarize themselves with the specific needs of their students. An example, Sharon Santizo, a former first grade teacher at Rorimer Elementary School, has helped students for 19 years with their education and any issues at home.

“You must be very understanding and patient with each child,” states Mrs. Santizo. “ Kids come in late, with incomplete homework, but seeing them grow academically is very rewarding.”

According to, teachers in these schools are confronted with a lot of challenges and frequently suffer from stress as a result. Although this may be true to some, Mrs. Santizo has decided to look at this in a different perspective.

A common issue we have is a lack of common school supplies such as books, pencils, paper…” reported . This is due to lower tax revenues in the district. As a result, textbooks may be outdated and worn and equipment needed for sports or science programs is in short supply.

Another issue on inner city schools is the lack of parent involvement. Reported by, parents are less involved with their children’s schools and many of their families are dysfunctional. Because of this, teachers are put with more work Mrs. Santizo says, “You must be patient and understand that their home lives are different, some of the kids come in late and hungry.” Also, according to, teachers must be aware of any dietary restrictions because of the children’s culture, or whether field trips to certain locations are forbidden by their religious beliefs.

Inner city school teachers also must deal with the reality of standardized testing,mandated by the federal government. Mrs. Santizo remarked, “Following the Common Core curriculum is going well and the kids enjoy trying to figure out problems with their peers. The first graders at Rorimer Elementary have progressed and few students got low scores on the standard testing.” Schools like these need teachers such as Mrs. Santizo to give these children a feel of hope and that they can accomplish anything.

We asked Mrs. Santizo with all these challenges she faces does she enjoy what she does, and her response was “Yes, it is rewarding to see the growth in the kids, a lot has changed, and they enjoy their time spent at school. They want to learn, and at the end of the day some don’t want to leave”.