Sunday, October 9, 2016

Acknowledging Teachers and Students, and "Getting Things Done"

This past week, two milestones happened in the U.S. regarding schools across America. First, at Oak Park High School in Kansas City, Missouri, various teachers pulled selected students aside to record and personally share their thoughts about said students and how each teacher felt motivated by them to come to work everyday. This challenge came from the head of a program for at-risk sophomore and juniors at the high school, as a response to a similar challenge last spring, in which she had students write letters of gratitude to their teachers.

(Read the following article with the accompanied video here.)

Reading this news the other day, I was reminded of how valuable and meaningful it is in having various mentors and teachers growing up in school. To hear how these teachers acknowledged each of their respective students is a great way of showing that there are a lot of people in the education system who really care about the students they teach. It further shows that such is necessary when not only building relationships with others, but those that will endure.

With that in mind, AmeriCorps celebrated its 22nd anniversary at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN, on Friday by acknowledging the various programs, non-profits and organizations that have provided state and national service since 1994. The pledge reads,

I will get things done for America - to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier.
I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities.
Faced with apathy, I will take action.
Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground.
Faced with adversity, I will persevere.
I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond.
I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done.

I've had the privilege of serving as a literacy tutor for one of these programs, Minnesota Reading Corps, for three years. And I can tell you, firsthand, that its mission statement of bridging the gap between students' education and their future endeavors (in the case of the Reading Corps, the reading gap) really makes a difference. Not to mention all the wonderful relationships you get to build and see progress as the years go along.

To any and every teacher and educator, give your students the respect they deserve, and be the example they not only can look up and have make a difference in their lives, but the one that can make a difference in your own as well.

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