Because of Teachers

Despite the Rhetoric, Good Things Are Happening in Our Schools

It is 11:47 on a Friday afternoon and I’m right here at home. But somewhere at a school right now who is giving up her lunch period (those blessed 26 minutes to scarf down a meal) because she’s helping a child learn how to read. Although it’s frustrating and the progress is slow, he will become a reader.

Because of her.

In another classroom, kids who started out hating math are now falling in love with the subject because a teacher has found a way to make complex problems relevant and meaningful to them. There’s a science teacher and his students are doing this amazing, hands-on experiment. And there’s a history teacher and she has made the subject come alive in a way that feels directly relevant to now. There’s a librarian who is helping kids fall in love with reading while also learning to distinguish between fact and opinion.

Somewhere on the east coast, there is about 20–30 minutes left in the school day. The students should be anxious to go home and play video games. The teacher should be ready to head over to Happy Hour. But that’s not what’s happening. Everyone is engaged in this creative project and it’s like nothing they’ve ever done before. And every child in that room is so zoned in on their work that it kind-of feels like magic.

Because of a teacher.

On the furthest side of the coast, there are teachers packing up essays that they will grade on a Friday night. There’s a teacher sitting down with a kid who is crying because she doesn’t want to leave school and go home and right now that teacher is the safest, kindest, strongest adult that this child knows. There are crossing guards and bus drivers getting kids to and from school safely and nurses caring for the sick while back here in Oregon there are cafeteria workers keeping kids fed, knowing that this might be a child’s only warm meal for the day.

And this happens every single day.

I bring this up because I often hear politicians railing against how broken our public schools have become. I’ve seen the media scapegoat teachers for every issue in our society.

But that’s not what I see. As a college professor, I get to work with a cohort of passionate teacher candidates who are already out there changing the world. I get to visit schools and see tons of tiny miracles that only seem ordinary because they are happening so often. I am convinced that our schools are worth fighting for.

So, I think it’s time we share those stories.

Six years ago, my friend Nick Provenzano created the hashtag #schooldidagoodthing. Right now, I’d like to bring it back. So, go to Facebook and Twitter and share a story of the amazing things that you have seen as a teacher or as a parent or even as a student.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.