There’s the man who started as a janitor in 1985 and now serves as principal of Port Barre Elementary School. And there’s Tyrese Graham, who was rocked when he started teaching in one of Chicago’s worst public schools. There’s Mr. Aronin, who got a student who would much rather peruse YouTube to love books, or Jennifer Brown, who got the lawmakers who were crafting education policy into classrooms to see what was actually happening.
These are great stories about real educators.
Some days, you need to be reminded of what amazing things educators can do. They can change a kid’s day. They can impact 50 education-related bills on the legislative calendar. And they can support other educators to work, grow, and do the same. Today we’re sharing five stories about real schools and educators, which showcase teachers going the extra mile to better their communities.
What will make you smile: A teacher goes to a national edu conference and gets a winning idea - close the gap between schools and the lawmakers crafting edu policy by inviting these lawmakers to classrooms.
Here’s a peek: “Alabama lawmakers face a legislative calendar this year with about 50 — yes 50 — education-related bills. And many of the people drafting those laws haven't been inside a classroom since they were students themselves.”
What’s Going on in Mr. Aronin’s Class? | Huffington Post
What will make you smile: Any story about a teacher really making an impact on a student’s life is smile-inducing. Read this essay from one student’s mother about just that.
Here’s a peek: “My son, who believes books are boring and prefers learning from YouTube videos over reading instructions, has actually been reading and discussing the books and thought provoking themes you have introduced to him.”
"My son...has actually been reading and discussing the books and thought provoking themes you have introduced to him."
Three Miles | This American Life
What will make you smile: Here we have an experiment that impacted many students for life, opening them to new people and life experiences they wouldn’t have had otherwise. And it was just three miles from their school.
Here’s a peek: “There’s a program that brings together kids from two schools. One school is public and in the country’s poorest congressional district. The other is private and costs $43,000/year. They are three miles apart. The hope is that kids connect, but some of the public school kids just can’t get over the divide. We hear what happens when you get to see the other side and it looks a lot better.”
"I'd Rather See You Grading Papers" | Upworthy
What will make you smile: Educators supporting one another is important and powerful. That’s exactly what happens with Gabe Sonnier. You can’t help but be so proud of what he’s done.
Here’s a peek: “For Joseph "Gabe" Sonnier, who was the janitor at Port Barre Elementary School, those words came one day in 1985. The principal of the school pulled him aside. ‘I'd rather see you grading papers than picking them up,’ principal Wesley Jones had said to him, as Sonnier recalled to CBS.”
It's Not Just a Job | StoryCorps
What will make you smile: This is a tough one; it’s people like Tyrese who are working in schools where violence is prevalent. Listen as Tyrese accounts finding the strength and empathy to connect with students and support them from within a tense, chaotic environment. Incredibly moving.
Here’s a peek: “Really, it’s not a job; you’re dedicating your life to this. And at the beginning of the year last year, I was like, you know what, I’m going to make it through this year and I’m leaving. But then, at the beginning of September, I walked through this door, and at this point I would not go anywhere else. I love it here.”