Parent Picksslice of life

SOL: South Bronx Classroom Stories

My first teaching job was at a South Bronx elementary school. We were almost considered Manhattan, but still far enough up that it was the Bronx. I had never spent too much time in the Bronx outside of Yankee Games and job interviews but here I was teaching 5th grade after student teaching and working as a bartender and a preschool teacher, now I was in the big leagues.

I was so excited and beyond thrilled with being a real teacher in a real school. Now, it had been a year since I had student taught and I had taught in an upper class school, to say honestly, I was not prepared for my experience.

All I can say is thank god for my amazing teaching team. We had 2 ELA teachers, 2 Math teachers and a special ed teacher. We also had an amazing ELA coach who without her, we may not have survived. I was lucky enough that a guy I had met in a class I had taken at a different campus for my college had called me and asked if I was looking for a job, as he was the assistant principal.

Anyway, I wanted to preface the story before I began. I have quite a few stories from this school, but I thought of one today that I wanted to share since it is April & we (teachers) are tired.


So as a new teacher, coming into a new school, to a new class, half way into October, with no curriculum, and a few months pregnant, in the South Bronx…… life is stressful.

In the 1st couple of weeks of school, I lost my voice from screaming so much, and I got extremely sick with a fever. As I am a stubborn person, I clearly never went home, I continued going to work.

I don’t know if you have ever driven in the Bronx or tried to park on the streets in the Bronx, but as you can imagine it being a city, there was always traffic, never any spots, and a ton of busses.

Have you ever been so sick with a fever that the fever might have just taken over your brain and everything is in slow motion or you can’t judge distance?! Well this was the point I was at on a Friday night trying to leave school.

I made the trek to my car 2 miles away and its dark now because we got out of school so late. At this point I know I am super sick. At the point that my head might fall off kind of sick and I had no medicine. Obviously, this is the perfect time to go drive into aggressive traffic and try to make it home.

Well, I didn’t make it far down the street that my school was on when I tried to pass a NYC DOT Bus, but didn’t quite clear the side of the bus. What. The. Heck. Was. That?! 

There went my passenger’s side mirror. Gone. Vanished. I am so sick at this point I don’t even care and I know I can play it off and blame it on the Bronx!

I get home and have to explain to everyone what happened to my mirror. Unfortunately, no one buys my story about it just being the Bronx.

I thought this was an appropriate story for this time of year when all teachers are super tired!


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TWL Working Mom

Jennifer is the owner of TWL Working Moms. She is a full time teacher, a mom & step mom, and NBCT Facilitator. Jennifer lives in Washington State and is a born + raised New Yorker. In her spare time, she loves traveling, yoga, the beach, writing, listening to books and drinking coffee.

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  1. Blame it on the Bronx sounds like a good story title, doesn’t it?
    Hope you are feeling better.

  2. Feel better! My first job was at a charter school too in Saint Louis! I love how you overcame it and hit on all times of emotions, good for you! Shows how determined and driven you are!

  3. Totally understand going to work when sick. It is much harder and more aggravating preparing lesson plans for a sub than just coming to work and not feeling well. Blame it on the Bronx seems like a perfectly plausible explanation for what happened to me.

  4. When I finished reading, an old song phrase popped into my head– “mama said there’ll be days like this…” Song context doesn’t match … but the phrase does.. 🙂 I’m with dogtrax–“Blame it on the Bronx” … perhaps the title for a series of teacher stories remembered. Have a wonderful day!

  5. Your first year was in the Bronx, my first year was in an Eskimo village in the bush country of Alaska! It’s amazing where teaching takes us, isn’t it? I would imagine you’ve gotten a lot of miles from that story, because it never gets old telling it! 🙂

    Enjoy your Friday!

      1. In many ways, like living in a foreign country! Living as a minority, facing racism, only getting things through the mail, only getting in and out of the village by plane or snowmobile, it was crazy. But, I’d certainly do it again! 🙂

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