Up the Downstaircase

Topics: High school, Education, Classroom Pages: 3 (869 words) Published: March 6, 2013
Up The Down Staircase
By: Bel Kaufman

Up The Down Staircase
Almost everybody regardless of their situation or status suffers from some sort of anxiety on their first day of work. As a recently hired employee strolling the halls of their new environment, they were introduced to a completely new cast of characters, co-workers, supervisors, costumers. Thus creating a continuous cycle that takes time to grow accustomed to, but once accomplished the rigors of work becomes standard and ordinary. There are jobs where this does not happen, completely unique situations are born spontaneously and it falls upon the shoulders of those on hand to evaluate and then solve the situation at hand. Certain levels of divergent thinking capabilities are required in jobs such as these, and one of the most prolific examples of such is in the education field.

A beautiful look into this particular world of teaching is Bel Kaufmans, Up The Down Staircase. It is a narrative following the life of Sylvia Barrett in the class room as she makes her way through the trials and tribulations of being a high school teacher in a inner city, public school setting. She acquires this job not long after graduating from college, and from the very beginning it becomes a battle with various individuals for any sort of structure or progress. Anytime she begins to make headway with the kids a memo will be brought in to the classroom which will interrupt the lesson, and remind the kids of the chaos of the outside world. Often times these memos are for such miniscule things as, “Should Macbeth be taught in the 6th term instead of the 4th” (107). It these sort of time wasters that take away from the stability of the learning process. When Sylvia got into the swing of a lesson she was brilliant and all the students adored her, interruptions in the classroom break the students attention, disrupting knowledge being gained in the classroom.

The administration was the biggest distraction in the...
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