The Classrooms of Chicago

This photo essay features images of educators and students from more than a dozen schools in Chicago, by documentary photographer Marc Monaghan. Here’s what’s behind the essay, in his words:

When I started this project I expected I would see teachers, administrators, and support staff engaged in meaningful ways in their work. I imagined that I would see the consequences of their efforts in the physical set up of the classrooms, the pacing of lessons, in classroom management and in the engagement of students. I saw all of that. I witnessed care, dedication and professionalism, minute after minute, hour after hour, throughout the full day I spent with each of most of the teachers.

I was surprised at how fully the teachers supported the work I was doing. They let me do what I needed to do. They gathered releases from parents and guardians, contacting them after hours and on weekends. They read my caption notes for accuracy. In their help, I felt their desire to be seen and understood.

The teachers I observed exhibited superb executive functioning skills, inquisitive minds and care for their students; they got tired during the day and they worked diligently. During the process of photographing these classrooms and schools, my understanding of the work teachers, administrators and support staff do and my respect for them as professionals was reinforced and deepened. I hope this is revealed in this collection of images.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Viktor Drachev / AFP / Getty

    Today Is National Puppy Day

    In the spirit of the day, I feel obligated to share some of these adorable images of pups around the world, and through the years.

  • Dennis Cook / AP

    30 Years Ago: A Look Back at 1987

    Take a step into a visual time capsule, for a brief look at the year.

  • Cris Bouroncle / AFP / Getty

    Peru Suffers Worst Flooding in Decades

    An unusual bout of heavy rains powered by El Niño conditions have drenched parts of Peru with 10 times more rainfall than normal.

  • Guillaume Souvant / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: 3/11–3/17

    A therapeutic greyhound in Spain, a civil defense drill in South Korea, flooding in Peru, a robot-run hotel in Japan, refugees learning curling in Canada, and much more

Join the Discussion