Hey Teachers - This is For You! (Part 4)

Thank you for paying attention and reading our Hey Teachers This is For You Series! Clearly, we are concerned about the state of the education field and teacher dissatisfaction.

A quote from a recent NPR article says: “Is it normal for me to cry every single day after school?”

You know all the reasons why! However, we want to focus on positivity in hopes that we can bring inspiration to our amazing followers and readership.

Please send us a note and let us know if this series has been resonating with you and if you are enjoying this series of love for our teachers and educators! Even better, if you want to share your story about a teacher who impacted you, write us directly at info@kid-grit.com. We would LOVE to hear from you, too!

Now, we encourage you to enjoy the latest installment of our Hey Teachers – This Is For You Series from our very own colleagues and Ambassadors.

Julia Gabor, Founder of kid-grit

Jenny Rodriguez kid-grit

Growing up, Spanish was not my first language. I did not read it or speak it, although I understood it. You’d think that growing up in a Dominican Puerto Rican household, I’d speak Spanish fluently. It wasn’t until the 7th grade where I met Ms. Fe, my first real Spanish teacher. This class was so hard because although I understood what Ms. Fe was saying, I’d fail most of the tests and quizzes because I couldn’t get the grammar right and I’d read Spanish words, from an English perspective. Ms. Fe was the kind of teacher that cared, that’d exhaust all options to make sure her students got it – she’d challenge you to be great. Before going on summer break, she recommended I read an all-Spanish chapter book, so I did. Gabriel Garcia Marquez was the first Latin American author whose book I read. I’ll admit it was hard but worth it. After summer break, my parents moved me to a new school so I wasn’t able to thank Ms. Fe – because of her, I mastered reading and writing in Spanish and had absolute fluent conversations. She inspired me to embrace Latin American literature in college and beyond. Now, I speak more Spanish than I do English, ha! Ms. Fe, wherever you are, THANK YOU for inspiring me to tap into my roots.

Jenny Rodriguez, kid-grit Ambassador

Dr Katherine Bihr kid-grit

As the principal of Vista View Middle School, I was uniquely positioned to view the impact that teachers can have on the students they serve. I can say, unequivocally that each teacher came with a natural affinity to care about the students in their classrooms. You can’t always count on that in education. This came into focus when the eighth-grade team prepared to take 200 students to Yosemite for the week. The careful planning, matching of strengths with individual tasks, and support for one another was observed daily. I will be forever grateful to these teachers who worked seamlessly with one another to ensure that the student experience was more than a trip to nature. When people care for one another – amazing things can happen.

Dr. Kathy Bihr, Co-Founder and Managing Partner

Jason Porter kid-grit

I moved around a lot when I was a kid – living in six states by the time I was eight years old. When my family settled in southeast Pennsylvania, I had attended four different schools and had a hard time making connections with kids my age. Many of the other students in my elementary school had families that had lived in the neighborhood for many generations and I could not relate to these roots in the community. My 4th-grade teacher, Mrs. DiCostanzo, was the first teacher I could remember relating to me as a person, even though I was only 10 years old. She would ask me what I was interested in and would help me find other kids in my class that were interested in the same thing. She helped me come out of my shell and start to make strong friendships that would last through middle and high school.

I can remember a pivotal day, January 28, 1986. We were set to watch the Challenger space shuttle launch from Kennedy Space Center, lifting the first teacher into space. This was an exciting day and we watched eagerly as the launch began and the plum of fire and smoke emerged from the bottom of the shuttle, propelling it from the launch platform. We were shocked and confused when seconds later, a fireball erupted sending a plume of smoke and debris hurtling back towards earth. Our young minds had a hard time processing what had happened; when I looked over at my teacher, she had tears streaming down her face. After about 30 seconds, she walked over to the tv we had been watching, switched it off, and asked us all to join her on the floor. In a quiet and caring voice, she started to lead us in a conversation about what had just happened. As we processed, I can remember her saying something like “it is okay to be said and to cry – don’t feel ashamed – be who you are and care for others.” At the time, I’m not sure I completely understood, but as I reflect back, Mrs. DiCostanzo helped me learn how to be authentically myself, to see others as they are, and to experience the world as it comes naturally. This was a great gift.

It is important to learn how to be comfortable in your own skin and I was lucky to start to learn this at a young age, from a teacher that was such a selfless and authentic role model. To all of the Mrs. DiCostanzo’s out there, those who see their students for who they are helping them be comfortable and grow as themselves, thank you! You truly are making an incredible impact for the future and should feel proud to do this incredible and selfless work!

Jason Porter, kid-grit Ambassador, and Senior Education Strategy Consultant, Academic Solutions Group



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