by Marcus Jackson, Ed.D. Posted October 9, 2019

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some phenomenal teachers. I’ve seen that kindergarten teacher whose students entered school not knowing their name and alphabet but left knowing how to write.

I’ve seen that first-grade and second-grade teachers work relentlessly to fill in the gaps, ensuring that every one of their students has moved from learning to read to be prepared to read to learn in third grade.

I’ve seen that teacher who’s able to take nonreaders in third-fifth grade and assure they’re able to decode words, read fluently, comprehend, write, and be well-spoken when asked to respond about what was read.

I’ve seen that middle school teacher who never complains about the deficiencies and gaps of their students entering middle school. This is that teacher who demands respect, is loved by their students, guarantees that students will learn, and is well respected amongst their colleagues.

I’ve seen that high school teacher who understands that the trajectory of the child’s life will be defined during these years. The student’s unique talents, gifts, and possible contributions to the world will be uncovered. These are the years when that teacher, more than ever, will connect every content to real-life circumstances.

I’ve been fortunate as a principal to have had an experience with that teacher at every level. The principal must ensure that every child has an opportunity to encounter that teacher at every grade level. Once this encounter transpires, a child’s thirst for knowledge and learning will never be the same. That teacher is a difference-maker and changes the trajectory of every child’s life for generations.