"Man, You Better Teach Me Something."

One extremely upset CPS student has given voice to the frustrations that other students and parents may feel about the lack of changes in CPS classrooms this year following the contract negotiations and the strike. Watch the video below, tell us what school it is if you can tell -- but more importantly tell us if it's true or not.  What's different, if anything, since CTU won pay raises, freedom from lesson plan templates, etc. in September?

In the NSFW video, the angry student screams at her teacher for lack of any improvements:  "You went on strike for a whole week to get paid to teach us... And now you’re here, and you don’t want to teach. Man, you better teach me something.”

Some of the comments on YouTube:

  • Petra Belcher 22 hours agoParents need to do exactly what she is doing. Though she may not know how to do it to get something more done, she is doing something. I applaud her for speaking out and for so many that want to get educated Parents NEED to do something for their kids.Good for you!Even at her age she has learned to speak up for herself.She has a voice and soon she will learn that isn't the way, but she did something.The kids should strike as the teachers and demand a education, a real one.Reply·15Vote UpVote Down
  • baines54baines54 4 hours agoShe is not rude, she is upset has a right to be. As an elected school board member, the kids was not learning because of all the politics, nepotism,and racism in public education, I spoke up and was thrown off the school board. Please help her fight because she is correct. Parents are coward and afraid to fight the system. She need heroes to fight for her, I am tired and once they drag you through the media and your friends turn their backs on you, who want this fight. "She Is Right"!Reply·7Vote UpVote Down


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  • That child has no home training. Scapegoating the teacher? How do you teach a class full of children with no self-control.

    Furthermore, it appears the school has no discipline leaving teachers to fend for themselves. Maybe if she directed her venom towards her classmates and community she might see change.

    Anybody who thinks the teacher is to blame I challenge you to sub at South Shore for one day and then tell us all about it.

  • The CPS school is South Shore International High School. This is a true story.

  • Alex, this is a new low for you.

  • How is this a new low for, Alex. Anyone who can't hear the total frustration in her voice ... she talks about how this teacher talks about his personal life and doesn't teach them anything that they will be tested on or that they need for life. Multiply this by hundreds of times across the city starting in elementary school and it's surprising more students don't rise up and demand something better when they get to high school and they feel they have a voice. Some express their disgust with the poor quality of education, the total boredom, lack of inspiration and irrelevance they find in schools, by simply dropping out. This one is choosing to speak out. That isn't to say, there aren't great teachers in our schools, but there are also far too many who simply don't teach, who don't professionally develop themselves unless they are paid to do so, who waste the kids' precious time and the taxpayers' money. This one has just been outed.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    You got all that from a one-sided rant?!
    If you think that every loud and angry kid must be in the right...
    ...you've never spent time in a CPS school.

  • She is 100% percent wrong and is a disgrace to all African American students. She needs to take lessons from the protest at King High School. The King students have clearly demonstrated and modeled an option for student unrest. Additionally, her peers are just as disrespectful and wrong. There is a point in which teachers should not have to beg students to learn or to cooperate in the learning process. These students are functioning emotionally at a grade school k-4 level.

  • In reply to teach4chicago:

    Our k-4 students behave much better than ones in this video. Please do not compare them. This is what's called Jerry Springer behavior. He and Morry make big money on ignorant people who behave like this everyday. The King student model, though great, is wasted on a number of the students in this vidoe since the students in this video would consider King student behavior-acting white.
    May MLK rip.

  • In reply to teach4chicago:

    I'm sorry, but how does a single student in a single classroom suddenly become a disgrace to "all African American students"? Is every child acting out in CPS (I'd imagine I could find at least one from the other ethnicities/races) a disgrace to all students of their same race as well? Or just African American students?

    Besides, didn't a certain group of historically maligned and oppressed folks recently get SO upset about (among other things) their perceived image and working conditions that they actually walked off their jobs in order to demand the respect that they deserved? But how dare someone under their authority borrow a move from their playbook? How dare someone else shout and get upset and stand up (=protest?) about their working conditions! Good grief.

    Was the student respectful? No. Had she had enough? It would appear so. Is this primarily a discipline issue or an opportunity to engage a class about what their education is and should be? I'd lean towards the latter. And race has nothing to do with it.

  • In reply to SystemChange:

    You lost the argument by saying 'a single student.' Watched it 2xs--its more than just a single student.
    And if they could get a parent in--parent most likely would act in a similar way.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    You're right- it was a group of students. Sample size appears to be...12? 15? Never mind my previous comment- a group that big MUST be a disgrace to all African American students everywhere!

    And the parents- aren't they the worst? How dare they come in and demand a better education for their child? They can't come to a school and yell for a better education! And they better not come as a GROUP and demand it! That'd be egregious! Right? Right??? Just imagine what would happen if we had groups of stakeholders picketing schools, demanding a better education for their students. What a ridiculous idea. Oh wait. That happened. And no one seemed to mind students and parents yelling for a better education then.

    Question: How come teachers can get upset about their working conditions and spit fiery rhetoric, but when student do it they are "a disgrace" to their race? Good grief. Again, was she respectful? No. Does the video tell the whole story? No. But I find it a bit...hypocritical... for people to come here and act as though her act of disobedience is somehow WILDLY inappropriate and different from what happened with teachers who months ago modeled the same thing during the strike (as was their right)?

  • In reply to SystemChange:

    Although I know I'm comparing this student's behavior with the civil disobedience modeled in the teacher's strike (which I think merits consideration, at least), my real reason for creating this account and responding is really the race piece.

    Would anyone every right about a white student that she was a disgrace to her race or gender because of her behavior in school? If so, I wouldn't want that person teaching my child. If you think the student or class was out of line, fine. But their race (or their parents' races) has (have) NOTHING to do with it and doesn't merit mentioning here.

  • In reply to SystemChange:

    You are write.

  • In reply to SystemChange:

    You are write, her behavior is a disgrace to the entire human race.

    What the kids at King did was analogous to the strike, this viral video isn't. Your comparison is weak.

    What this young lady did was go on a rant. She may have been in the right, or maybe not. We don't know because she didn't let up for one second to allow the teacher to speak. He must have been a reasonable individual, for if he had carried on like the young lady you can bet that reply would have been on youtube as well.

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    Ask her if she did her homework last night. The new slogan for CPS should be "GO TO WORK" - that does in fact go for the teachers who are just riding the wave and not teaching - find 'em...fire 'em. However - then turn to the students and parents the same slogan works - get to work, do your work, try for goodness sakes. So many students get indignent when they don't even try - there is actually a growing reality gap that students see those around not as getting a hand up - rather a hand out. So they come to expect it at school. Teachers need to teach. And students and parents have the responsibility to learn what the teacher teaches.

  • Really? This is ok? What led up to this? What did the teacher say in his defense? Why isn't his reaction on this video? What happened when she was finished with her rant? Since when is it ok for students to scream at the teacher? These kind of discussions between students and teachers are meant for class meetings, group discussions. This is clearly a student berating a teacher during class time. Shame on all of you for defending and promoting this kind of behavior. This video is a completely one sided muckraking ploy.

  • Muckraking Ploy is correct.
    Shame on you Alex.

  • Frequently, I see comments from teachers admonishing those who don't teach from commenting. Unless, you observe large numbers of teachers, you should refrain from commenting. In CPS, here a fantastic teachers. There are also dredges. Students shouldn't yell at teachers? Teachers shouldn't yell and cuss at students, but they do. The mark of any profession is that some people can't cut. CPS has enough teachers who are not cutting it to be egregious. Teachers who still run thousands of worksheets, who don't know there subject matter, and who meet every stereotype of a bad teacher head on. Too bad you won't stand for kids, the way you'll stand for teachers.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    No, students should NOT yell at teachers....period. Students can have a voice, students can discuss their thoughts and feelings in an open forum, a class discussion, a "town meeting", or a one on one conference with the teacher. Every profession has it's bad apples, education is not excluded. However, just like in every profession, there is a time and a place for heated discussions. This student was berating, I'll say it again, berating the teacher. It also was completely one-sided. We did not see what led to it or what happened after it. We did not see the teachers reaction either. The majority of teachers are in fact advocates for their students, at least the ones I work with. This video is not about worksheets or subject matter. This video is about respect.

  • I worked for CPS for many years. I once asked my boss why the teacher's union protected bad teachers and put in place restrictions that stopped principals and teachers from doing their best for the students. It was that day that I learned that "the union is there to protect the best interests of their members. Students are not their members." It was the most horrifying thing I'd ever heard, but in the years that followed I came to see how true it was.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    You just made that up.
    I find that "horrifying".

  • My question is why didn't we see the teacher calling for the office or security help? Was it because his school doesn't have a bell to call the office? Was he afraid? Was that part of the video we did not see?I would have been afraid if a student started screaming at me that way and would have called for help. No staff member should ever have to deal with that. I kept waiting for her to get up, walk over and assault him. She was certainly violating CPS code of conduct, without question. I'd say a 10 day suspension would be warranted. And, if the teacher is really wasting his students' time, then his administrator needs to be in his classroom documenting so that he can be fired.

  • Three Scenarios:

    1) She is putting on a show for her friends and youtube.

    2) She is mental.

    3) She really does want to learn, but the other 39 kids in the music class make it impossible for the teacher to actually instruct.

  • There are several interesting aspects to the video clip. First the student’s complaint about the teacher not teaching is really a complaint about the teacher not trying in the least to control his class in order to actually present some type of general music curriculum. Second most of the students around the recording are paying little attention to the content rant by the student; they couldn’t care in the least. They only comment about her rant to the extent it adds to the circus atmosphere of the room. Apparently, they are totally ok with having a class period where they can socialize and relax. To be honest I suspect the teacher is ok with this too as long as those kids keep the noise down.

    I saw a number of classrooms that were totally out of control like this one when I taught at Calumet High School before its conversion to a charter. It was fear of losing control that made many of us effectively total control teachers at Calumet. We would hardly let a kid take a breath; we would not let them lounge back in their chairs we had them on task all the time. We wrote up kids fast and put them out of the room fast too.

    In many respects having been out of a high school classroom for a long time now I have the luxury of reflection. Many of us at a troubled high school like Calumet stopped being effective teachers and became effective drillmasters. It’s tragic really. But at the time when your job is on the line and no classroom control means no learning going on at all establishing order is job number one.

    I for one am glad Alexander posted this video, it brought back bad memories and made me recall how I feared becoming one of those teachers who lost control of their classroom and were looked at as a fool by their students. I suspect there are some teachers who understand what I am discussing because they teach in that reality every day still. The reaction that the student ranting is some sort of disgrace is interesting because from my perspective the real disgrace is the teacher who lost total control over that room; the student ranting is just a reflection of a teacher who has given up.

    As to the video not really showing what the teacher does to bring the situation under control, I deeply suspect this teacher rarely has the room under full control. Urban teaching requires that even disruptions that last even a minute or two be quickly extinguished. What we saw was an ineffective teacher and kids who were out of control.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod, I usually agree with your posts, but...
    ...wow you're really making a lot of (negative) assumptions on this teacher. I'd hate to be judged that way based on such little actual information.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    You’re ‘evaluation’ of this teacher is ridiculous. You know absolutely nothing about the situation, the teacher or the child. Usually, your long-winded statistical crunching leads to incorrect conclusions. I recall your pre-strike analysis

  • This is why many great teachers do NOT want anything to do with Chicago. This would never be tolerated in a suburban school; the student would have been thrown out or escorted out by security once the student refused to be quiet the first time. Its hard for a teacher to throw someone out of the classroom or have them escorted out when there is NO security present or the administration have strict rules as to when a student can be removed from the classroom.

    Until you know all the facts, I would completely stay away from reserving any type of judgment on this teacher. Situations like this can occur because administrative policies tolerate this type of behavior. If anything the teacher should be commended for remaining calm because most would not have. If the teacher isn't teaching, its easy to see why. Students act like this because they know they are in an environment where they can get away with it. They know teachers aren't going to be supported. Incidents like this are commonplace throughout the CPS. This one just happened to be video taped.

    Welcome to the real world of the bs that teachers have to deal with in CPS.

  • In reply to district299reader:


    I was rejuvenated for a few weeks after the strike, then reality set in. I forgot how much I have to dumb down art lessons for crying out loud. I have been teaching for 7 years and have tried many ways of making lessons relevant and so on. To no avail. I'm embarrassed sometimes, because I almost have to give busy work. I feel bad for the handfuls of artistic students whom I modify for and the students who are there to get an education. Meanwhile I have my hands full with the third of the class that doesn't care or are behavioral issues (when you write em up nothing happen so I gave up on that).
    I remember when I was doing fieldwork at Wells, and saw the art teachers just giving worksheet after worksheet I said to myself, "I'll never do that." Now I understand why. Here I am 8 years later ready to hang it up. I come home completely drained, started taking meds for anxiety from this dang job. Don't get me wrong, I have my good days and leave feeling great seeing those lil lightbulbs go off.
    I will say if classrooms continue at 33+ I won't last. Yesterday I had classes at 25-28 and it seemed empty and I could actually teach.

  • In reply to corruptionok:

    The students who are "there to get an education" need to have an alternative to the high drama neighborhood high school.

  • Agree with the commenter above that this is not an uncommon scene in high schools. It did not take students long to figure out there was a new, more lenient SCC, and they are pushing the edge of that envelope daily. Students know teachers are not supported by most administrations in the area of discipline. The best classroom manager in the world cannot stop a student who wants to entertain their peers.

  • After 38 years I thought CPS had ceased to amaze me but today I received a pleasant surprise at a retiree special education teacher meeting at CHAS( very impressive school) run by the new director of OSES, Markey Winston. OMG she actually solicited input on special education issues. She and her team are trying to address the special education teacher shortage by using retiree teachers until the vacancies are filled by new teachers. What a novel concept,-great for job sharing, and think of all of that experience. I am hoping this idea works because all too often in CPS children with disabilities may sit all year with a series of non-special education-certified day to day subs. I wish her lots of luck.


  • In reply to district299reader:

    The Ag school is slightly-selective-enrollment and just expanded the percentage of students from adjoining neighborhoods (boundary changes). What's your assessment, just as a visitor, anniesullivan, of how the school implements sped? Much mainstreaming of SWD?

  • Vince Lombardi one of the best football teachers ( coaches)
    that ever lived said it best " Gentlemen this is a football"

  • The real shame here is that this young lady was not joined by her peers in demanding an education. Unfortunately, our students are so desensitized to the injustice that is coming to school and learning nothing, that they would rather be amateur filmmakers and not advocates for their own futures. So teachers, instead of spending more time trying to push Jesus out of the way so you can take his place on the cross – maybe you ought to reflect on whether or not you, too, are wasting your students’ time. The job of a teacher is not easy by any stretch of the imagination – it takes an immense amount of courage, compassion and fortitude, at the very least. That said if you don’t see these core qualities in yourself, do us all a favor and find a new profession. Otherwise, your customers – your students, will begin to demand more of you; and as you can see it is not always going to be in the form disingenuous public forums and meek conversation.
    “What happens to a dream deferred? […]Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?”

  • Perhaps students could figure it out if they did documentary filmmaking now?

  • I'm reading through the comments here, and I'm continually surprised by how several comments here are more concerned with:

    -the student's communication and respect for classroom conventions


    -the one-sidedness of the "story"

    ...than they are with the content of her message. Not to beat a dead horse, but again, how is this protest different from what teachers did several months ago? She's upset about her conditions and she is speaking out in ways that disrupt the system to promote a change. Teachers were upset about their working conditions and disrupted the system to promote a change. I can find many instances of teacher messaging that is at least as passionate and strongly worded as this students through a simple google search on the strike. Why is this student labeled "disrespectful" while teachers were labeled as hero's promoting justice during the strike?

    I know teachers were also labeled many other negative things leading up to and during the strike- but teachers (and many others) considered teachers to be in the moral right because they were fighting for better conditions for students. But now, when a student asks for the same thing (in a similarly disruptive way), she is labeled here with negative terms- by educators (who did the exact same thing during the strike)! It just seems to contradict the message I heard a few months ago delivered in a similar way (protest, disruption, shouting) about a similar topic by teachers. And, more concerningly, some of the comments made here seem to blame students and a lax discipline code as the PRIMARY reasons for school conditions rather than engage the student's content.

  • How is it different from the strike protest/message? How can you fail to understand that we knew both sides of the strike story? Terrible comparison. Really, it is not uncommon for students who have failied a test or who get a progress report they were not happy with to try to flip the script like this. On the other hand, it could be a totally valid complaint. The point is, we just don't know. I would really be interested in finding out, however, and hope we are all enlightened at some point.

  • This video is just sad; sad that it had to come to this. I, honestly, believe in respecting your elders, but in this situation, I have to side with the student. Although she did not approach the situation respectfully, in this instance she just snapped. We, as humans, do that once enough irritation and feelings towards a situation builds up. Was she wrong for HOW she approached the issue? Yes. Was she wrong FOR approaching the issue? No. She is going to school to learn and he is not teaching her. In the beginning of the video, you can tell that the teacher advised that she had been disrupting the class (that is how it all started); that prompted the rant. But if she doesn't say anything then who will. I think that because she did open her mouth about how she feels, something will come out of it (more teachers may begin to teach.) Fortunately, I had a lot of teachers that cared about us learning, then I had those that didn't, but those who did care had us learning things, outside off their lesson plans, to prepare us for our futures (college applications, some college work, etc.) So I kind of hate to say it, but I am siding with the student in this one and that doesn't happen too often.

  • In reply to dncr11:

    How can you choose sides when you only hear one side?

    Non-teachers may be spellbound by by the young lady's rant, but CPS teachers know better. Some students are very skilled at weaving tales of how they were treated unfairly. Usually these tales are not entirely true. Only a fool would automatically take the side of the CHILD in this video without more context.

  • School is not the Jerry Springer Show – the girl needs to sit down and shut her big mouth!

  • I'll bet you anything grades were due around the time this video was recorded.

  • I have no compassion for this loud mouth kid, and to be honest, I don’t care if she came from a troubled home -

    just like I don’t care about the troubled circumstance of the stick-up guy who robbed me or the bad-aim gang-banger who accidentally shot the three year old kid in the head…I want the police to catch them, the judge to sentence them, and the warden to throw away the key…

    ….security needed to remove this nut-job immediately and permanently.

  • Concerning the obnoxious loud-mouth girl in the video, from Catalyst Chicago

    “School clinicians say they are seeing more students who are dangerously depressed, psychotic or aggressive, prompting them to call the hotline more often. Most of the school calls originate in Chicago, but the trend extends across the state, according to data from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services for 2007 through 2011”


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