14 April 2010

Why do the Poor Teach the Rich?

As a teacher in a respectable private school, I'm starting to wonder whether the fact that lower middle class teachers, often educated in public schools, teaching upper class students is not just an ironic juxtaposition, but a necessary relationship. Often the students in my classroom have never had to perform basic household chores, light a match or learn the plethora of life skills that a lower class teacher learns by necessity.

As I contemplate the justification for spending $17,000 dollars a year to send a child to middle school, safety, nurturing and academics come to mind, but is there more to it? Maybe the fact that we poor teachers spend considerable time learning basic survival skills and street smarts growing up qualifies us to prepare these privileged children for the bump and tumble challenges of life. What are the students receiving for their parents' $20/class?

Meanwhile, we teachers can appreciate the fact that we don't have to go as far out of our way to teach our children to appreciate what they have: we can't afford a maid, and they'll have to work their way through college. Perhaps their challenges will on day qualify them to teach the wealthy.

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