|John Legend, Shine On, from Waiting for Superman.|
It's a huge struggle to teach children knowing full well that the homework that we give them likely won't get done at home because many of my kids don't live in environments where they are pushed to succeed, and some of them are not 100% safe at home. What's going to motivate a student to do her homework when her brother who just graduated from high school got shot and killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time? And what about my special education students, who are becoming painfully aware that they are not like the other students - what's going to motivate them to do their work when they believe in their hearts that they can't succeed?
It would be easy as educators to step back and throw our hands up, do our jobs and go home, and sigh about another lost generation. But my school is full of superheros - teachers and administrators who often come to school at 7am and don't leave until 5 or 6pm, spending extra time working with students, despite the challenges that we face daily. For every student who doesn't believe in himself, there is a classmate willing to elbow him in the ribs to remind him to pay attention. It's those moments that bring us back every day, willing to stay the extra hour and tutor a student who doesn't get it right away. It's exhausting work, but it is good work.