Education requires the most fervent of servants to accomplish goliath expectations. Teaching is not a job or a career to me. It is a lifestyle and it is what motivates me. Passion for what is done as educators is something that is ignited from a fuel that is manufactured in the labor of love that IS education. It is a passion that must be nurtured so that it does not waver, because the classroom is a battlefield.
With all of the recent political drama and memes floating around about the president's nominee for Sec. of Education, it has caused me to reflect on my education as a child and where I am today. The factors that influenced myself to become a teacher stem from circumstances in my childhood that had one only solution…education. Growing up in poverty, without a father, with yet-to-be-diagnosed ADHD, the brother of a girl with Down Syndrome with a significant developmental delay, I was the child in your class who needed you the most. I had no one other than my mother to guide me and while she did what she could, I was left to tend to myself a majority of the time. Growing up in a single-parent home living below the poverty line was difficult as a student. Though I could not define or comprehend the levity of the situation, my mother knew that it was a classroom that could offer me more than she could. She did the best that she could to ensure that I was there. All of these situations/life circumstances directly influenced myself to become a teacher. These were labels. These were stereotypes. These were excuses. There was one solution out of this…education.
Education is the solution to poverty. In my experience while serving in the countries of Mexico and Haiti, it became evident that the lacking institution that could directly impact the human condition was and is education. I identify myself closely with the needs of the economically impoverished, because I have been there, and have left it due to…education. My greatest accomplishment in education is simply understanding the power and levity of education. It is breaking the cycle of poverty with education. I was the first person in my immediate family to attend college and graduate, and then use my story to motivate and empower a new generation of thinkers.
Being fatherless is not an excuse, it is fuel. It IS easier to build strong children than to repair broken men, as Frederick Douglass once noted. Children need leaders. I have been asked why I chose the profession of education often. My response has yet to waver: “I always wanted to be the teacher I never had.” Why is it that people remember more about certain teachers than others? My desire is to cultivate positive relationships with students that are based off of the understanding that ALL children can learn. With the changing roles in the homes of families, it is imperative that the role of the teacher is to edify, inspire, and cultivate promise in all learners of all backgrounds and abilities.
Real music recommendation: Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing”
James & Dana
A husband and wife teacher team who love integrating social studies and science into other subjects for diverse elementary classrooms.
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