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    Inner City
    By Ron

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    I am going to assume you're white and you're scared. I am a big, black man, and there are many days I feel the same way.
    I teach in Paterson, NJ, and despite the many days I come home feeling like a used sandwich wrapper, I would not trade my job for any other in the world. The kids are priceless. Yes, many can break your heart, but the root stems from parents,not the child.
    You're going to have to be tough, but loving, because in too many cases yours' will be the only emotions your students will see all day. They crave that attention, however, like an aclcoholic craves booze. The difference is the alcoholic can live without the liquor; the children cannot live well without love and discipline.
    Be yourself, because these kids can spot phony a mile away. You'll find many wonderful parents, but you'll also discover that many could care less for whatever reasons.
    Be prepared to serve food. I started my own breakfast program several years ago, because I know many kids will throw out the school food in lieu of potato chips, soda or play time. An empty stomach leads to an empty head.
    I could go on and on, but I will say this: there is no greater smile than that which comes off the face of an inner-city child who realizes he or she is just as good as a suburban kid. I stress that in my class.

    Good luck



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