November 23, 2021
Not Just a Kid From the Projects
By Sarah Burke
I never got the quality education I deserved during elementary school. Now, I want to become a teacher to help other poor students fulfill their dreams.
By Meagan Zullo
This article was originally published by Youth Communications and is reposted here with permission. YC is a nonprofit publisher of teen-written stories and curriculum to help educators strengthen the social and emotional skills of youth.
Growing up, I didn’t know that I came from a lower class. Once, I even had a birthday party at a Build-a-Bear workshop! My dad worked for a theater and we were able to watch movies and got popcorn for free, while my mom stayed at home and helped translate for Spanish-speaking parents of kids who went to my school. I come from a big family; I have four siblings, two nieces, two nephews, and more cousins than I can count. My house is always full of smiles and laughter that help make the small space feel big. My home was a haven for me, but school was a different story.
I went to my zoned elementary school where the computers were old and constantly broken. There were hardly any books in our library, and the ones we did have were stained or had pages ripped out. Our playground consisted of a filthy jungle gym. Our teachers were overworked because there were more than 30 kids in a class, which also made it hard to focus on what was being taught.
After that, my parents enrolled me in a middle school in downtown Brooklyn, hoping I would receive a better education. I quickly realized that I didn’t know as much as the other kids; I didn’t know my multiplication tables, I couldn’t sound out words, and my vocabulary was far below my grade level. In order to improve my vocabulary and speech, I listened to other people’s conversations and watched gaming videos on YouTube to learn new words. I wouldn’t know the exact definition of the word, but I knew what context to use it in.