Hi all! I am a music teacher at a school on the south west side of Chicago. I educate 1100 kindergarten to eighth grade very ethnically diverse children. I teach at a "turn around school". I have some crazy stories about school and life!

Edit:I'll be on and off all night and part of tomorrow, if you have anymore questions!

My Proof: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1nzhj5w0anyr0oy/teacherproof.jpg

Comments: 1340 • Responses: 117  • Date: 

mbburt791 karma

I want to thow this out there: I know that teachers get a bad rap for "leaving and arriving at the exact contracted time, working for the holidays."

There are so many teachers that are there to make a difference in our youth. Many of us come from abuse, poverty, challenges, and horrible circumstances. We want better for our future.

I myself have been homeless, grew up in an abusive home, very poor family, as a child been evicted on food stamps and had a car repossessed from my family. I have seen the effect of poverty on childhood obesity. When I finally made it out of the house I lost 130 pounds, paid for my own college and am going to graduate school. I have adopted my youngest sibling and helped her get clean and graduate high school.

i_club_seal_cubs135 karma

I'm a product of CPS. A few weeks ago I interviewed at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. It's nice meeting a fellow South-Sider doing great things. Thank you.

mbburt81 karma

Congrats. You should be proud of yourself, that's freakin' awesome.

A_Very_Lonely_Dalek27 karma

I've been recommended to be a teacher on a few aptitude tests, but I just don't want to do it. To work in such a soul crushing environment for my whole life. I can't do it.

mbburt74 karma

If you immediately think of it that way, then don't. You will be unhappy and so will they. Your probably a people person, so find a people person job:)

ismokeforfun20 karma

The fact that your a teacher and spelled throw "thow" made me chuckle

mbburt9 karma

So sorry, too many beers.

mbburt33 karma

I got you back though. You spelled you're your.

purplekissofstardust778 karma

How do you get through to these keeds?

mbburt462 karma

Smile, it actually works.

jglol453 karma

What effects has Chief Keef had on your students?

mbburt577 karma

Killing brain cells... portraying crime as a means for success... Mostly they want to know if i know who he is.

T2G61 karma

How many of them are familiar with/fans of Chance the Rapper vs. Chief Keef? Or both?

I'm asking this as a hip hop fan (and I listen to both intermittently though Chance a whole lot more) but honestly this is a legitimate societal question

mbburt89 karma

They don't really know Chance, most only know Keefe

Johhnyfingers2834 karma

Chief Keef gets blamed for way too much. The problems on the south side have nothing to do with Chief Keef. His songs are not really making the culture of the south side any worse.

mbburt21 karma

Agree, he is not powerful enough for all that.

TheWimpyRambo397 karma

Hi, just in case you didn't know!

UChicago just released their Uchicago Promise program to CPS students. I'm currently taking advantage of this! Gives free tuition to any CPS student that gets into Uchicago :) An awesome opportunity. http://promise.uchicago.edu/

mbburt276 karma

Oh snap! I'm passing that on to my kids!

mbburt166 karma

To be honest about unions, they don't seem to be the biggest problems with "ruining education". Poor administration and leadership within schools, officials running over all education in Chicago, and students not being top priority to many people are.

Personally, if the union did not exist, a lot of teachers and students would be in very bad positions. I think that it is a check for the administration within the school. As for over all district wise, I don't know how effective it actually is.

Tenure: Everyone likes to talk about tenure. Huge controversy there. There are teachers that are amazing that are tenure, there are teachers that are truly awful with tenure. People argue that administration can arbitrarily take someones job because they dislike them. In many ways they are right. They could, tenure creates huge road blocks to fire anyone. I have some ideas for solutions in respect to that.

securityinfinity6 karma

Could you maybe talk about some of your ideas on how to reform the tenure system? I'm in graduate school right now and have experienced both its positive and negative effects on students.

mbburt36 karma

There are many. I am no expert. I wish the solution were clear. I think we need to stream line everything. Same observation requirements for all, same amount of times. I think that professionals that are experts in each content area should be the observers, not the admin. That way they can truly evaluate content knowledge and classroom lessons. I do not believe in merit pay, it will screw the schools with low test scores and scare away teachers from working there. I believe that tenure should have to be something that is maintained, not given and kept for ever. But again, that comes down to the strength of your admin.

counterseven13 karma

They're trying a new system in Colorado. Once you achieve tenure, you have to maintain it by getting sufficiently good ratings on your annual evaluation. Two years of bad reviews and you lose tenure. You are also observed much more frequently during the year.

This beats the old once-every-three-years evaluation based on two or three observations. The downside is that 50% of your evaluation is based on your students' test scores, so it's teach to the test or else you're out of a job.

mbburt22 karma

I'm on board until that last part. We are switching to one very similar soon here. As I said before, so many of our babies cannot read at all, do not sleep at all at home, and have no one there when they get home even in kindergarten. So test scores will not be an accurate representation for many schools, some maybe.

inter21128 karma

Does everyone listen to chief keef

mbburt231 karma

So so so many kids. It's KILLING ME! And their sense of morality.

inter2165 karma

And do all those kids want to be just like him

mbburt233 karma

I don't think most of them get what he is all about. My friend teaches in the neighborhood he is currently on house arrest in his moms house. Everyone thinks he is so so cool over there, well the kids, but HE IS IN HOUSE ARREST AT HIS MOM's. really..

Mattime16105 karma

He's in rehab in Malibu right now. He was under house arrest at his moms, like... 18 months ago.

mbburt155 karma

Lucky him

bonjour_bebe46 karma

I could look this up, I know. But, who? And what I need to know.

mbburt88 karma

It's worth looking up on youtube. He is a rapper with not a single positive lyric in sight.

tinyirishgirl107 karma

No questions.

Just wanted to thank you for sharing the gift of music with children and to say that I hope you have a happy and safe New Year.

mbburt66 karma

That is super nice. Thank you for supporting music in our schools. Happy New Year!

mbburt106 karma

What is most interesting to me is the time spent on talking about unions instead of students outside of actual schools. I hope you all know, no one, at any school, walks around and talks about unions or getting paid more. I hear more talk from teachers that are invested on how we can provide more educational options for kids, teach them to solve problems with words and not fists, retain knowledge, make a difference, you know..... teaching stuff.

ctyankee8580 karma

Leroy Brown I've heard is trouble.

mbburt73 karma

Jim Croce would agree with you

fubbleskag70 karma

What are the easiest and hardest first instruments for young children?

mbburt127 karma

Easiest, but most common percussion (drums)...best for the future clarinet. They all take a minute to get a hang of though. No band director wants everyone on percussion, it is a chronic problem.

Hardest French Horn! But you develop a good ear. (That is not even counting bassoon or oboe for the younger peeps)

mbburt68 karma

Usually a band teacher will start a kid on the clarinet or flute and later transfer them to the oboe or bassoon. If your kid sings in tune and isn't all over the place, a brass instrument wouldn't be a bad idea.

meowcristine24 karma

My band teacher started me out on oboe in the 6th grade and I played for eight years. Why would they start on another instrument? Just to learn how to read music?

mbburt43 karma

TO learn a single reed instrument and air support first. Oboe takes a specific mouth shape that is hard to achieve and hemorrhoid inducing air supply. For little kids, it's tough.

ADuck0nQuack20 karma

why is the clarinet the best for the future? Spongebob taught me otherwise.

mbburt72 karma

Squidward never had me as a teacher ;)

triemers14 karma

French horn music ed major. I'm glad I learned this horrid nstrument, after having 3 music teachers who didn't know the instrument which left me having a hard time.

mbburt24 karma

I'm glad you did too. It was worth it. Now go do a church gig adn get paid for all of your hard work.

zaurefirem1 karma

Do you start clarinetists on Bb or Eb? I know a teacher who started his really little kids on the Eb soprano just because they didn't have nearly big enough hands for the Bb.

mbburt1 karma

Always Bb, it's traditionally that way. That's is a creative solution! They would just have to rewrite the music for them so that they would match the band.

freeTrial62 karma

raises hand. "May I go to the washroom please?"

mbburt84 karma

Ask me in two minutes

pronto28535 karma

But in all seriousness, you're not a bladder Nazi are you? I drank a lot of water in hs, and have the bladder of a kitten. I'd just leave and come back. Oh, and kudos for answering so many responses!

mbburt62 karma

No, I had to pee all the time too growing up. I just make them go one by one.

mbburt45 karma

I'd really like to do an AMA about my sister and her education, getting clean, counseling, and our crazy escape from "the parents" but I can't prove it without giving you all my life deets. She isn't in education, but she is a musician.

aflatminor17 karma

Give us the short version? It seems very interesting and I'd like to hear it. Great AMA.

mbburt34 karma

The short version! rofl

Background: I grew up in an abusive home, have 2 sisters. I transferred 14 times between k and 12th grade, this includes homeschooling by my "father". Middle sister same situation. Youngest sister home schooled almost entirely.

Youngest sister was pretty much an only child, we are much older than her. So she was alone with my father all the time and isolated from the world. Not allowed outside of the house, locked in rooms, provided with alchohal, brainwashed, abused, not allowed to talk to anyone outside of the house....etc. Eventually it took it's toll and she turned to self mutilation, drugs, and alcohol.

I continually told my mother what was going on, she said my father would never do this to his children....(even though eh was abusive to her as well) When the little one started trying to kill herself by slitting her wrists she wasn't taken to the hospital until it was obvious that she was about to die...no questions from anyone. This happened so many times. Finally she took handfuls of pills of various kinds and drank a ton of booze. Dad wouldn't take her to the hospital until she passed out. Too late to pump her stomach, so the ran her blood through a machine in hopes it that it could clean it before brain damage and deaf happened.

Then the battle with the hospital and dcfs began.

mbburt18 karma

I was a teacher at this point adn a mandated reporter, do I had been calling DCFS letting them know periodically what was occurring in the house hold. No one ever did anything until one day before this event someone showed up and asked my sisters adn I questions in front of my father. Then left, no follow up.

mbburt23 karma

FYI when she was "home-schooled" he never taught her anything ever. When I finally got her, at 16 she was at a third grade level.

NettleFrog12 karma

How was she able to pass the tests they're required to submit? Sorry if that was worded incorrectly; I don't know much about homeschooling.

mbburt17 karma

THey really aren't moderated at all. That is the horrible truth.

aflatminor8 karma

That's heavy. I'm glad that you were able to get out of that situation and help the family members that needed help, that's very commendable. I wish you the best of luck in the future.

And I'm sorry if me asking for the "short version" seemed insensitive, I know it's a long story and very hard to give just points, I was just interested in your story and didn't want to put you out by having you to write more about it if you felt uncomfortable. And thank you for your time.

mbburt15 karma

IT'S LIBERATING! If you want ask more. I have learned so much more about education, abuse, responsibility, life, and what pulling yourself up from the bootstraps really freakin' means.

mbburt15 karma

I mean, when your sister has a mental episode because of withdrawal and tries to stab herself and when stops tries to stab you, you tackle her and wait for help to arrive...stay at the E.R. all night to find that they have no beds available there or the mental hospital, to bring her home for the 2 hours of sleep you will get before you go back to work in the A.M to really wonder if you will wake up alive....

You tend to learn a lot.. and age...

oh-bubbles42 karma

If you could give these kids one thing to make their future brighter what would it be?

mbburt168 karma

The ability to believe that they are capable of goodness and intelligence. Making a living and supporting themselves as a good person is possible. So bottom line, social emotional skills, how to be a person! To believe in goodness when how horrible and stupid they are is what is crammed in thier minds all of the time.

Hawklet9832 karma

How many times have you been shot and/or stabbed?

mbburt70 karma

I personally have never been shot or stabbed. Just physically accosted.

fa5328 karma

This week.

mbburt168 karma

Once a year when I get my flu shot

robotsarecool30 karma

What is your opinion of the private schools in Chicago?

mbburt42 karma

Are we talking private religious, secular, or charter?

mbburt54 karma

Charter.. depending on the charter school, it can be bad for students and teachers. They misappropriate money in some locations, leaving students without resources and teachers. There aren't many checks for them.

Private schools include religious education of your choice, your business..No special education supports at all though.

Soullesswolf25 karma

Whats the most crazy thing you have seen while working there?

mbburt70 karma

I have had things thrown at me, blood drawn, broken up family fights, brought food to hungry families, broken up 3 fights in a matter of five minutes in different places in the school, seen a child carried out on a stretcher in an straight jacket, and watched a boy stab a girl with a nail file.

Soullesswolf29 karma

wow just wow much respect for dealing with those children

mbburt54 karma

It really has to do with the environment they are raised in on the street and in the home.

Thanks for the kudos! We need all kids to know they have safe options for conflict resolution.

mbburt43 karma

Many many things....... Mostly related to children:

I will choose one:

end of class fifth grade students were lining up to leave. I turn around to grab my keys off of the piano and look back to the line: One boy is literally holding another child off of the ground by the neck and carrying him across the room. He proceeds to hit his head into the counter top over and over again until I intervene.

Godrics23 karma

As a graduate of the CPS system, I would like to thank you for making a difference; CPS gets a terrible rep, but there is such a variety of outstanding teachers who deserve to be appreciated.

What would you say was the strangest situation you've encountered as an educator, and the funniest?

mbburt36 karma

Firstly, congratulations on graduating. I wish you happiness and success, your teachers will always be there if you need help in the future, don't forget it.

Recently most funny thing happened with a student named Jesus (Spanish kid). I was teaching public speaking skills and making student guess where I was looking. He said I was looking at Jesus.. Well naturally I responded that some people don't believe in Jesus, but if they do there is some debate as to where he may be. (He thought I was looking at the ceiling) I said some believe he is up above, around us, or some inside you. Others believe in other things...... He stops me ans says.. My name is Jesus. We both laughed until we cried.

mbburt18 karma

Strangest thing I experienced is hard to say.. there are many. Those poor babies. I had a student bash his own face into a wall until he bled out of frustration. Another girl pull handfuls of hair out of her head because she was mad.

thelexicalgap21 karma


mbburt30 karma

Good, be excited. You chose the right thing then. If you decide at some point it isn't don't be afraid to try something else. Just don't quit the first time it crosses your mind. 1. Find a mentor 2. Go work with kids some where. Observations really don't help that much, hands on does. 2. Wen you do observe take notes on classroom management and positive reinforcement... Not conducting technique and song choice. Those things so don't end up helping in the first 5 years of teaching. 3. Go take a music teacher out for a cup of coffee and ask them lots of questions.


How many aspiring rappers are there in the average class?

mbburt56 karma

In total, I only have a handful. Many kids are interested in learning how to mix beats or be DJs.

mbburt19 karma

Interesting facts about Music Education majors:

It is usually a five year degree At some colleges you have to learn 17 instruments before graduation You are also trained as a performer/you may have 2 performance recitals

KazamaSmokers18 karma

Is the southside of Chicago the baddest part of town?

mbburt39 karma

The south side if Chicago is massive. Some parts are great and some are dangerous.

Sizzalness14 karma

What do you believe could be a possible solution for these students issues? Do you feel like you may have saved any children from a future of gang relations?

mbburt42 karma

I would like to believe that I have provided students with conflict resolution skills, social emotional skills, and after school opportunities to give them more options beyond local gangs. Before and after programming and helping students find self worth through technical/trade school programming would help a ton. We need more of an emphasis on social emotional skills

sa-yu-ri13 karma

As an education major it's really sad that this is only the second time I've ever heard someone mention social-emotional skills.

It's nice to see someone has their priorities straight.

mbburt13 karma

It is legally mandated that we teach them now, however so are a lot of other things.

sa-yu-ri11 karma

That's these, right?

  • "Develop self-awareness and self-management skills to achieve school and life success."

  • "Use social-awareness and interpersonal skills to establish and maintain positive relationships."

  • "Demonstrate decision-making skills and responsible behaviors in personal, school, and community contexts."

I really think states should adopt similar standards.

mbburt6 karma


geoffsullivan4612 karma

did you teach chief keef how to rap?

mbburt86 karma

If I taught Chief Keefe his rhymes would be smoother and he'd be more witty.

somethingclever19247 karma

Hi, thanks for doing this! I am a recent college grad and I just got accepted into the Chicago Teaching Fellows program doing Special Education. Do you know how the teaching fellows are perceived in CPS or do you have any insight into the program? Thanks!

mbburt9 karma

I am a Golden Apple Scholar and they have been collaborating heavily with TNTP (Chicago Teaching Fellows), and Teach for America this last school year. The goal is to "funnel" good teachers into low income and low performing schools. Each organization concentrates loosely on one part of the city, not exclusively. Apparently, Chicago is trying to forge solid relationships with these organizations because they are loosing many teachers in these neighborhoods.

mbburt6 karma

I know that you won't have a problem finding a job. If you do, contact the CTU, there are hundreds of positions not listed, but vacant. Specifically Sped. I am positive of this.

somethingclever19241 karma

Ok, awesome. Thanks for answering! I know TFA and other programs (like TNTP) are currently being heavily criticized. Do you think its warranted? Is there any tension between TFAers/teaching fellows and other teachers?

mbburt2 karma

In my location no. I haven't heard of any tension between the two. it is possible though. There are some schools where some teachers do want to put in the minimum and resent the extra effort and hours put in by teachers in programs like that. It sets a precedent for everyone. Also, like any other program, there will be B.S. to wade through.

What criticism are you talking about specifically?

somethingclever19241 karma

The criticisms I have heard are people doing it for resume building rather than actually wanting to teach and many of the teachers aren't adequately trained and then leave once their 2-year commitment is done (this is more so for TFA than TNTP, but I suppose it could go for both). So (allegedly) many teachers don't like those types of programs--but I don't know how true that is in Chicago. But if you haven't seen any tension, then that's great! It was just one of my fears coming to Chicago with such a program.

mbburt2 karma

Teachers staying at one school any where you go isn't the norm anymore. You see a lot of turn over every 3-5 years. Either within the district or elsewhere. It really is a person by person thing, you will run into many of both.

lumcetpyl7 karma

how do you make ends meet with that salary?

mbburt9 karma

Budget and work extra jobs in the summer.

beansauce137 karma

The south side is really rough. Are you planning on staying there and trying to "make a difference" or would you ultimately like to be somewhere different?

mbburt20 karma

Nope, I LOVE IT. I love my babies. I want to go into admin eventually and really make a larger impact on who we have in the classroom.

HULLcity6 karma

Honestly, any regrets?

mbburt30 karma

Honestly, it has been the most emotionally exhausting and difficult path I could have imagined. But I believe that every student deserves an excellent teacher and I try really hard to be that and help others be that for kids.

I have definitely considered changing careers.

internet_dipshit3 karma

Do you hate Sousa as much as I do? I don't really hate him but man we wore that shit out.

mbburt2 karma

Classics are what people want! I have some band and choir stuff burned in my memory for all time!

Lne26 karma

I'm an aspiring music teacher who wants to teach in an inner city public school one day. I'm getting my masters and already have a music education degree and certification from the state where I did my undergrad. I had an unlucky night last year and got pulled over for speeding and was charged with a DUI. I've swore to never drive again after any drinks at all and everything else about my résumé is great. In your experience, how difficult will it be for me to get a job at a school district like your own with this record?

Thank you for all you do for those kids!!

mbburt11 karma

Well, they ask you about that on the application I believe. It could be very hard unless you have done a lot of volunteering and people know you are good. There is an over saturation of music teachers on the market, little things like that can seriously impede your chances. Start volunteering, get your face seen. It is possible

mfb12116 karma

Music Education major here! How would you describe the place of the music program in the overall educational experience of the school?

mbburt15 karma

Honest answer:

You are a prep for the teachers that are in the classroom, that is what you are seen as. Who cares, you can make some of the biggest differences socially and emotionally in your school. You see everyone. You have real relationship power. Remember music is important, the child as the whole is the number one though.

Watoo245 karma

Any advice for dealing with the younger children, or in general for teaching?

mbburt16 karma

Use a strong voice, not a yelling one. Put way more energy into the positive behaviors as they happen and much less for negative behaviors. Have firm consequences already decided for behaviors and what the next consequence will be if it is repeated. Be honest with them and straight forward. It is o.k. to tell a kid that his behavior is coming across as annoying, he probably didn't know.

overhandthrowaway5 karma

What is the cutest thing a kindergartner has said to you?

mbburt11 karma

I love/hate kindergartners. They are unbelievably adorable, but they are like herding wild cats in a classroom.

I use Education Through Music often in class..it is a song game method that helps build kids literacy, social/emotional skills, and music knowledge. I ask them which magic glitter they want me to sprinkle on them to turn them into a farmer (for a game) often they choose the color and then when I "sprinkle them" they tell me I have dropped it on the floor and get down to pick it up. SO CUTE!

Stringathy5 karma

What's the most satisfying experience you've had teaching? Also, about how much time do you spend outside of work at home working on curriculum and grading? And thank you for doing this ama!

mbburt22 karma

If you've read some of my comments I gather you have picked up on the fact that I strongly believe in social emotional skills and resolution conflict skills. So I start almost every class with compliments and problem solves, so that every class is fresh and ready to go. I have words on the wall for them to use: leader, kind, focused, ready, bright......etc. I use these constantly. I see many students struggle with these things, it doesn't come naturally to anyone to talk that way to anyone. After about a half a year, a child that has a history of punching people for even looking at them the wrong way stops in the middle of class and turns to another student and says: I see that you are really trying to be successful, but its bothering me that you keep bumping me please stop. I was like WHAT!!!! Mind blown. Kids have started to pick up the language.

mbburt15 karma

Since teaching is pretty much my life I don't think about the hours ever really. When I go home, I just on the brain. Washing my hair..thinking about how to teach the ukulele more effectively.. What's next. Blah blah.... Grading is epic hours wise, I have way less grading than the average teacher assignment wise, but I have way more students than everyone else. So it takes forever to do, weekend gone.

THAT_GIRL164 karma

I know this is a little late, but I just graduated with my BS in elementary education and am on the job hunt in Central Florida. I am very open to working in an inner city school, but is there something I should know about the parents? I know that it is hard to ask working parents to be involved in the classroom, but what about parents working multiple jobs who are not home when the child is doing homework? Do I ask for a signature to ensure homework is looked at? How do I ensure that there is some form of parental involvement in the students lives?

mbburt17 karma

You cannot control it at all. But you can encourage it. The parent signature one is a good idea, but be careful how you deal with the child if they don't have one. Some people take recess or use classroom punishment and it really isn't the kids fault, they are already being punished with never seeing their parent. Collaborate with other teachers to see what works best for your student population. Offer events or classroom open houses with food, that works pretty well. lol

FlashOfTitan4 karma

As a current CPS student at Lincoln Park, I wanted to ask you about your view on the selective enrollment process and if you witness the stress on getting into a good high school with your 7th graders.

mbburt5 karma

You have to understand that many of my students will not qualify for Lincoln Park. But, those that do are very stressed. You are to young to feel this way right now. We try to put the roles of parents that should be shared with students solely on students in that situation. It sucks, I'm sorry.

ButtfuckerWillie4 karma

Have you ever been shot at or had a gun pointed at you by a student?

mbburt10 karma

By a student, no. Near a student from a rival gang yes.

SpecialOops3 karma

how many weapons have been reported on the school ground?

mbburt3 karma

It's so common that no one even talks about it anymore. They are confiscated. My school doesn't really have those issues.

SpecialOops3 karma

ouch! I myself went to cps for 1 year and let me tell you it was hell!! a kid brought in a piece in my class room when I was in sixth grade, he threatened everyone that if anyone snitched they were going to be first on the list. I never ran so fast to go home when the bell struck.

mbburt3 karma

Not all schools have things like that happen. But, dang you must have been scared!

pressthebuttonfrank3 karma

Is there a quick fix to the problems you face?

mbburt5 karma

Well short term, but not a complete fix. We need strong leaders in admin. But, show up smile and be consistent as a teacher. That takes you pretty far.

awarak3 karma

How do you not 'go crazy' with all the bs they throw at you all? Your a hero...seriously...a hero! Some of us know that...We appreciate who you are,what you do and the fortitude you possess and show everyday..Thanks Teach!

mbburt3 karma

I lean on other teachers that teach well, cry sometimes, smile sometimes, drink and eat chocolate sometimes. lol

skoldy113 karma

is gang violence a major problem in elementary and middle schools?

mbburt6 karma

Many of them.

whataboutcheese2 karma

What is the most prevalent issue/problem you've observed with your students in school? And out of school?

mbburt5 karma

Self confidence, problem solving, social emotional abilities, conflict resolution, and determination to not give up

Morning-Woods1 karma

Do you have any kids with different or interesting names? If so please list

mbburt1 karma

La-Ah(Ladashah) Courvasier I mean they are all similar to that, or traditional Mexican names.

Libertarian-Party1 karma

Hello, I don't know if you are still doing the AMA, but I just wanted to ask a few things.

1) How do you feel about the "Lemon Dance?" AKA bad teachers just getting transfered around schools in the district instead of getting fired due to Union rules.

2) America is #2 in spending per capita for education but is around 20-30th in actual education. Where are we wasting money> (Buses, Ipads, too many teachers? inefffective teachers? and what could we do to spend better money>

3) How would you think a VOucher system would work, as in MOST schools would turn "Private" but ALL students would have access to these private schools via funding by the government (as long as they didnt have a disciplinary record.) This is suggested by many economists as a way to unchain schools from ineffective regulations and motivates schools to produce the best students=best reputation.

And I know you are a music teacher, not a superintendent, so I guess a teacher's perspective would be great. Thanks!

mbburt2 karma

As for vouchers, those are sticky too. Because for most of the population it would probably work well. When you get to the schools where parents don't even get out of bed unless it is to let the next John in, you will have a problem having parents use vouchers. You will still have bottom tier schools, it will consist of the same population.

mbburt1 karma

I think the Lemon Dance is unfortunate but it does exist even within schools. It is a product of tenure and its need to be revised, not omitted. Money distribution within a district varies massively. If you walk into one CPS school it may be sparkling, another may be literally falling apart. SO distribution of money. LESS PAY FOR PEOPLE AT THE ABSOLUTE TOP. That's where so much money goes. Ipads... lol... most schools dream of that. If they have it, it's from a grant.

startin-over1 karma

how much do you think the teachers unions are ruining education? How do you feel about places where shitty tenured teachers get to stay in their job because the union protects those with tenure?

mbburt4 karma

I replied earlier in the thread:)

myreddituser-3 karma

This is a good question, but you know the answer coming from the group receiving the most use from the union. It's too easy to get tenure as a teacher in this area. Nobody is going to say that being a teacher is easy or always rewarding, but the current situation breeds and protects poor quality.

I don't want to even get into the pay or the hours.

mbburt7 karma

It is a little unfair to lump all teachers and their opinion of the utility of the union into one basket. We are also talking about merit pay and things along those lines.

I agree there are too many shitty teachers out there, but that has more to do with administration within a school and their inability to have the balls to do something about it.

inferno5210 karma

Is merit pay even possible in your opinion? I can't think of a single fair metric with which to grade a teacher. Some students might not care, which could force down scores of a teacher, if the merit metric is just standardized testing performance

Are there any fair metrics for judging a teacher's performance in your opinion?

mbburt3 karma

I think it might be in a district with students that enter the classroom on level educationally, so that you are not being penalized for their lack of education before your classroom, shitty home life, or them not worrying about where food is going to come from tonight.

When those things are at play, students may not achieve academically at a high level. To be honest with you, we are lucky if we are teaching them life skills and skills to help them navigate what they go through. Can we measure that yet?

Darwin_Saves1 karma

Do you feel like there is any way to save the CPS?

I've lived in Chicago for over a decade and now have a young daughter, but with all the financial problems facing the CPS, I'm not sure I want to deal with it.

mbburt7 karma

I say, start with administrations. As crappy as they sound turn around schools make a huge difference in student and school culture. You have to realize that nationally, education is in the same state.

Be involved as a parent, it will go a long way. If there are financial gaps that make certain things not possible for your daughter or her school, take initiative in a fundraiser. It makes so much of a difference. You have so much power as one parent that cares.

bonjour_bebe1 karma

What do you think of Urban Prep?

mbburt2 karma

What do you mean by "Urban Prep"?

electroencefalografi1 karma

He's referring to the high school by 63rd and the Dan Ryan expressway. That all-male charter school where almost 99% of it's graduating class attended college.

mbburt1 karma

Some Charter Schools are awesome. Some are horrible. I don't know anything about them, so anything I say wouldn't be informed. But that is an awesome number, good for those young men. I do know that Charter schools do not have to accept all students and may expel students. CPS is the opposite.

Battletoad_Potemkin1 karma

Have you ever listened to the "Harper High School" episodes of This American Life? Is gang culture as prevalent in your school as it was depicted there?

mbburt3 karma

I haven't but I will, thanks for the info. Now, the school I currently work in is a successful turnaround school. We are surrounded by gangs, but we really don't have the problem within the school. We have been successful at providing opportunities outside of the school day for kids to do other things and feel like they have a family they belong to. Keep in mind we are in year 9. y husband works at a H.S. on the south side, and he teaches some babies that lead gangs in very violent ways.

Marylandman1011 karma

what are your thoughts on 'teach for america'?

mbburt1 karma

I think it is great if the teachers are properly trained in classroom management and conflict resolution before being placed in schools of need. If they are not, they are setting students and teachers up for massive failure. It depends on what part of the organization regionally that you are a part of.

MrMoustachio0 karma

When you make it to nice neighborhoods, where is your favourite place to eat? I am visiting Chicago next year.

mbburt2 karma

Breakfast Sweet Maple Cafe Ann Sathers

Calo's Hackney's

Soooo many. Urban Spoon doesn't steer you wrong usually

JangoCrutch-5 karma

Have you fucked any other teachers in the school?

mbburt4 karma

Nope, legs are closed when it comes to co-workers. Tends to make things really messy. Lots of people do though, just like any other work environment.