In 2018 I launched Teacher Stories to share inspiring stories about teachers and the impact many of them have on their students. I was moved to do this because I fear too many of them have faded into the background of our public consciousness, causing many of us to take for granted the critical role teachers play in our lives.
Teachers deserve our respect and admiration because nearly every one of us has a story about a teacher who made a difference--often a profound one--in our lives. My hope is that these stories will draw more smart, committed, and caring people to the profession and remind those already in it (and the media, and the rest of us) that their work matters.
As a career teacher educator, I am acutely aware that our collective attitude toward teachers is a principal cause of the sharp decline in the number of people now entering the profession, and why so many working teachers quit well before reaching retirement age.
Hopefully, the stories we are collecting will serve as a reminder that good teaching matters--especially at a time when our country is struggling to affirm its commitment to social justice and equal opportunity. These democratic ideals cannot be achieved if all children do not have access to thoughtful, well-prepared, and well-supported teachers.
Here are a few notes about two of our stories.
Rachell Auld’s is about Dr. John Rosario, a community college anatomy professor who convinced her she could become not just an athletic trainer, but an orthopedic surgeon. And she does, but that's not the end of the story. After practicing medicine, Rachell finds a higher calling—teaching biology to high school students.
In a podcast episode, I interviewed Victor Rios, who had been incarcerated multiple times by the time he was 14 years old living in Oakland, California. Dr. Rios is now a professor at U.C. Santa Barbara, and the story he tells is about Ms. Russ, his high school STEM teacher who Victor says saved his life.
I hope you will take a moment to enjoy these teacher stories and will share them with your friends and colleagues.
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Ken Futernick, 2020