The following series of photographs document a teacher named Mary Kelley. She is a teacher at a private elementary/high school in Central Vermont for students whose behavior has prevented them from participating in a typical classroom setting in the public school system.
The often difficult and unsung work of teaching children is made exponentially more difficult by a chronic lack of resources, long hours, and rising expenses of books and classroom materials (many of which are paid for out of Ms. Kelley's own pocket). All this in addition to teaching every subject for ages groups ranging from Kindergarten to 6th Grade. Physical confrontations and violent student outbursts are not uncommon in Ms Kelley's classroom as she carefully balances academics and learning with essential acts of compassion and kindness for students whose lives are often on the edge of spinning wildly out of control.
Mary Kelley holding the keys to her classroom.
Ms. Kelley's Classroom
The elementary section of Ms. Kelley's school is located in the lower level of the building. It is often cold, dark, and plagued by moldy carpeting and insulation.
In a random act of defiance in class, a 10 year old student crumpled his homework, a halloween themed word search game.
The "break room" where students are permitted go when they need time to be alone. Though spacious, the room is mostly empty to prevent further damage.