A Teacher’s Story

Veteran Philadelphia teacher Frank Burd tells his own story about the violence that plagues Philly’s schools, the incredible support he received from the community, and his ongoing fight to recover

I am a teacher. Whether to my little brother, my students at the University of Pennsylvania, where I was a teaching assistant, or my students at Roosevelt, Parkway and Germantown, I gave what I had. Teaching is so much more than one of the professions. It is one of the most intense helping positions there are. It is in a league with nursing, childcare, and companions for the elderly. It requires compassion. I was always excited to be a part of something as meaningful as teaching, and proud to work in some of the city’s most difficult schools. Sadly, I’m incapable of doing that anymore. But I’m not through teaching. I will find a level at which I am capable.

As for anger, it doesn’t help me. I get angry at myself for not being able to remember things. I get angry because I can’t sit and listen for too long. I get angry for the physical limitations of my life. I did my job as well as I could. Two fools took much from me. I hope they fight through it and get on with their lives. But I am also a fighter, and I will find a way to continue to work to make understanding among people a meaningful life goal.

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