One of the most beneficial things I've learned this semester was to look at urban education in a different light. I still believe that many inner-city schools have serious problems like violence, under-funding and high dropout rates. The politics and bureaucracy involved in urban schools, and in public education as a whole, are certainly major drawbacks. But I've also come to realize that a lot of good can come out of seemingly adverse environments. A certain school district might be in shambles, but it doesn't mean the kids are a reflection of it. I've seen that making a positive impact on children is an attainable goal.
While conducting research for my community inquiry project, I was forced out of my comfort zone and into an inner city school. I consider myself fortunate to have visited a school where the teachers are caring and the sense of community is strong. For me, experiencing this has opened doors in my professional life. I know that when I become a teacher, working in a suburban school is not the only option for me. Sure, working in a struggling urban school system is sure to be a daunting endeavor. But urban schools now have less of an ominous aspect as I've gotten to know the people who study and teach there.
Teaching is going to involve a lot of trial and error, regardless of where I teach. But for me, I've come to find that urban schools should not be defined by their circumstances, but by their students and teachers. And that gives it all a more humanizing spin.