The National Teachers’ Initiative
At State of the Re:Union, we know that the best way to get to know a place, to understand the area and its residents, is through the stories of its people. For this week’s School Spotlight, we’re pulling back and panning outside of an individual school, to share the stories of those who are at the front lines of education, our teachers.
As part of the American Graduate series, our friends at Story Corps focused their incredible oral history project on ‘The National Teachers Initiative‘ and gathered stories from educators and the students they inspired. A special focus will be placed on teachers steadily working to increase the number of high school students graduating from high school who are prepared to enter into college and careers.
The palpability of the program can be felt through Story Corps’ explanation of how it works: “By recording, sharing, and preserving their stories, we hope to call public attention to the invaluable contributions teachers have made to this nation, honor those who have embraced the profession as their calling, encourage teaching as a career choice, and unify the country behind its teachers—helping us all recognize that there is no more important or noble work than that of educating our nation’s children.”
Some 625 teachers are revered and celebrated for “the brilliant and courageous work” they provided for this initiative. Through telling compelling and poignant stories, the experiences of how teachers throughout America impact the lives of students are made evident.
From a neurosurgeon calling from several states away to thank the eighth grade science teacher who inspired him, to a very personal journey that made an English teacher into the man he is today, the stories of the National Teachers’ Initiative allow us to peer inside the personal journeys of men and women impacted by a teacher. Some journeys are filled with heartache, some with happiness, but all of the stories show the how the interactions between student and teacher make a difference in their lives, and that of the community. To read some of these Story Corps moments, click here and scroll down to “Listen To Stories.”
We live in a society that is filled with instant gratification, so to work in a profession that yields delayed results is an anomaly. Thus, being a teacher must take incredible stamina, patience and resolve. One such teacher, Renee Thorton of New York, NY provides a great analogy: “Even though you plant a seed and you don’t see it flourish or bloom, it’s there, and it grows.”
Most everyone can remember that one teacher who said or did something that made a very special impact influencing something in your life. It could be an educator from preschool giving you praise for some small thing, or a middle school teacher who helped you through a difficult time. Whatever the occasion, use the comment box below to tell us how a teacher made a difference in your life.