I grew up in the public school system and I continue to have faith in it. I received a good education that prepared me for life because I put in the work and took advantage of opportunities to learn. I also had a concerned mother who made sure I got the most out of the system. In addition, I was blessed with incredible teachers who helped mold and shape me into the man I am today.
Mrs. Day, my 9th grade English teacher, always implored us to tuck in our shirts and speak properly because people would judge us on how we looked and sounded. Ms. Day, my physics teacher, taught me how to persevere when things got difficult. Mrs. Anandam, my geometry teacher, taught me the importance of being diligent and helping others. Ms. Johnson, my art teacher, helped me to develop my creativity. And Mr. Pace, my high school principal encouraged me to set high standards for myself and strive towards excellence.
Good teachers make a difference and despite the rhetoric to the contrary, there are still good teachers in our public school system. Fortunately, my kids have had some great teachers who have impacted their lives.
The first teacher to connect with my daughter was Mrs. Madison-Scott. Although my daughter was bright and eager to learn, her spirit had been dampened by a poor private school experience. I won’t go into the details, but I will say that it left me with a bad impression of private school culture. It wasn’t until my daughter started going to public school that she fully blossomed. Mrs. Madison-Scott, realizing my daughter was a shy girl with a lot of potential, helped her to build her confidence. As a consequence, my daughter managed to complete elementary school with all As.
My 9-year old son has also had teachers who have motivated him. He loves science and his teachers have managed to harness his passion by creating science experiments that not only pique his interest in the classroom, but also make him want to study on his own. I love my son’s elementary school because the administration is strong, the teachers care about delivering a quality education, and the parents are actively involved.
I’m fully aware that our public school system is flawed and could use several improvements. In fact, I often disagree with the curriculum and emphasis on testing. However, I am willing to do my part to make improvements from the inside. I understand that my children’s education is my responsibly, not the school system’s. And I take that responsibility seriously. I read to my kids’ classes, visit them for lunch, and attend their assemblies. It is important for me to let the teachers and administrators know that I’m an involved father. But more importantly, I want my kids know that I’ll always be available to support their education.