My daughter, Kayla, will be celebrating her graduation from 8th grade this afternoon, and my son Josh graduated from high school nearly two weeks ago. This seems like a good time to take advantage of the blog to celebrate teachers.

As Laurie would certainly tell you, I love teachers. I always root for them in the admissions process, hoping that their goals will align with their experience and commitment to service.

Over the years, my children have been fortunate to have been taught by some amazing educators — people who transmit knowledge and love of learning seemingly effortlessly, while employing creative classroom management skills that many of us non-teachers fail to appreciate. At each of the five schools they’ve attended are teachers who have left their mark on Josh and Kayla, and I have always found their work inspiring.

Within the U.S., Teach For America deserves a lot of credit for transforming the thinking of current college students, reawakening the perception that teaching is a career that top students pursue, rather than a job that academic stars leave to others. And because Teach For America focuses on placing teachers in difficult to serve schools, there’s a sense of mission about the enterprise.

That sense of mission also motivates many of the teachers at the school from which Josh just graduated, PHA. It’s a public charter school, with many students for whom thirteen years of school, followed by a college education, is not as natural a path as it is for my children. Like all the other families of PHA students, we chose to send Josh there. It met our education goals, as well as his desire to be in a highly diverse environment. And he is starting to appreciate how lucky he was to be taught by such an amazing group of committed individuals with a mission to educate all students in their classes.

So, on the occasion of Kayla’s graduation from the 8th grade, and Josh’s recent high school graduation: Thanks to all the great teachers out there! Whether you’re a career educator, or a twenty/thirty-something with the determination that all children should receive a high quality education, your work is vital to our future and should be celebrated!

 

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