Tag Archives: Homelessness

Becoming a teacher who makes a difference

2 May

We’ve been doing all these readings for my classes – how race affects learning; how gender affects learning; how poverty affects learning; how the education system affects learning… combine that with the statistics I’m getting from my Geography of Current Affairs course (approximately 400 million people in the world have malaria, 33% of the population of Swaziland have AIDS, and there are over 14 million AIDS orphans on the continent of Africa, to name a few of the grimmest), and sometimes I feel like “what’s the point?” Or even “I shouldn’t be teaching – I need to be doing something BIG to help the world.”

The man-friend and I have discussed joining the Peace Corps. It tends to be somewhat of a joke – “Can’t find a job? Let’s join the Peace Corps!” “You have to be married to join the Peace Corps together? Gee, mom will be thrilled!” – but there is often more than a hint of reality in those jokes. We are people who like to do things, to help people, and to make a difference. I was in AmeriCorps for two years working with students from all walks of life – but mostly in poverty. He volunteers with unions and social movements and works for a non-profit.

I have to remind myself sometimes that teaching is, in fact, a great way to make a difference. Not in the “If I can only reach one child” sort of way, but in a more realistic, I want to teach ALL my students to love learning kind of way. Because education is the way out of most of life’s hardships. Donna Beegle worked for years to get herself and her children out of poverty, the road wasn’t easy, but she now has her PHD and works to help others out of the poverty cycle.

First Place School, in Seattle, is a school that provides quality education and a stable environment to homeless students, and help to their families. This is an awesome video that I have been watching a lot of recently. It helps remind me that as a teacher, I can make a difference.

So I don’t need to go to Africa or find a cure for AIDS. I can help out right here at home.

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