Faculty Publications


What does it mean to work in a system that fails you and your kids? : A beginning teacher’s journey through the Chicago Public Schools: The MLK Symposium Performance: Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Charles Vanover

Document Type


Publication Date



This ethnodramatic performance tells the story of a beginning teacher's first year in the Chicago Public Schools and her efforts to make a difference in a third-grade classroom with 16 boys and 5 girls, where about half the students had not been promoted the previous school year. The first-year teacher shares stories of the year's struggles, successes, and the students she cared for most. She describes the students she cared for and the students she did not know how to help. The script for the play was constructed out of verbatim transcriptions of the teacher's interviews and shares her exact words. Interactive discussion frames the beginning and end of the performance. A first-year teacher's experience performed simply, without embellishment. A long running inquiry designed to raise questions, not answers. By Charles Vanover, Ph.D. Performance by Jennifer Jean Smith. This event is co-sponsored by the Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research and the Center for Public Policy in Diverse Societies at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.