bilingual, bicultural, and back home

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 04 2012

For Clarissa.

Some of my students copy their favorite library books word by word so they can keep a copy.

I had just left my school and climbed into my car when tonight’s presidential debate started.

Minutes into the debate, I heard President Obama tell the American people that we need to invest in education. Immediately, I started crying. I still am. I go to school every day to thirty-eight students who eagerly jump out of their seats to tell me what’s going on in their lives. Thirty-eight bright and warm faces who all exclaim, at every chance they get, how much they love math and their math teacher. Thirty-eight voices who all PLEAD to stay after school with me in math club when I only have forty-five minutes one day a week to spend with 6-10 (but I’ve already snuck in 13.). Thirty-eight children who INSIST and PLEAD for MORE homework in a district that refuses to count it because hey, they won’t do it anyway. Thirty-eight students whose love for our classroom and our work overwhelms me because god, how can such little hearts fit so much love?

I just need someone, anyone, to invest in my students more than I do every single day. And not for me but for them.

A girl, like Clarissa,* for example, has turned around in six weeks because I have invested in her. While she worked tirelessly  at the beginning of the year to avoid work, she now spends her time in class attentively listening, hand in the air, and her mind focused on her work instead of a conversation with her neighbor. This is the same girl, mind you, whose mom wrote on her parent-teacher contact form, “Honestly, Clarissa does not like school. It does not matter how much I bribe her, she wants nothing to do with it.” And now, this same girl hugs me every day before she leaves my classroom. She tells me every single chance she gets how much she loves math. (“Miss, I’m not happy about the three day weekend. I just want to be with my math teacher on Friday.”) Her grades have DRASTICALLY improved. Seeing this change in her has been inspring, motivating, and thrilling because of what this behavior can spell for HER future.

But what will happen to her when she leaves my classroom? There are fourteen years between now and Clarissa’s college graduation. This country MUST invest in her NOW. We can’t wait until tomorrow. We can’t wait until the next president has been elected. The moment is now. Every child in this nation deserves the opportunity to attain an excellent education


*Names have been changed.

2 Responses

  1. Linda Michaels

    I’m so proud of you Christian. You have the true heart of a teacher and the special gift that I’m sure encourages your students to love and respect you and…most important…work hard for you.

  2. Carlton

    I am inspired by your dedication, grit, and persaverance.

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About this Blog

I'm the first in my family to attend college. So what did I do when I graduated? Went back home to teach. This blog captures that story.

Dallas-Fort Worth
Elementary School

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