A teacher who cares makes a world of difference

by Federico Encinas

Federico Encinas grew up in inner city Chicago. He shares his challenges with parents and students to encourage them to reach their goals by focusing on their education.  The excerpt below comes from a conversation regarding his passion and love for that special teacher that helped him fight against overwhelming odds. His story is an encouragement and reminder of why we serve students and the impact we all have as long as we remain student focused.

I am a 42-year-old man now and I grew up in the city of Chicago where it’s tough on teachers. It’s even tougher on teachers who care. Much love to the teachers and much respect to those teachers that do care and want their students to succeed.

I have a perfect example of a teacher who didn’t care. A teacher who told my mother, “It doesn’t matter to me if he passes or fails… I get a paycheck anyway.”

The most difficult task that a teacher has is to try to reach a frustrated young person who is in a world that just attacks them on all sides. When that special teacher comes around and shows them compassion and shows them love. That special teacher that says, “I am fair, I am firm, but I’m consistent and I got you.”  It is the feeling that we, as inner city kids, look for.  A safe place where I can go and I’m not being judged. I’m not looked at differently.

In my case, a third grader, learning English because of a loving teacher. In the midst of the struggle, she discovers I was dyslexic but continued to support me. Her struggle and her push and love and compassion help me graduate high school. It made a difference in my life because I graduated and joined the army. I had better options. Out of the 25 friends that I grew up with, only 2 of us are not dead or in jail. We were inner city kids, but we were not as hard as we seemed to be. A good teacher with love and compassion and understanding can crack our shell. Graduating can change your options from a window to a garage door.

To all the teachers and their struggle, thank you. Cause without you, some of us would not have made it. I was one of the lucky ones. Because I had a teacher that loved and had compassion for me.

Do you or someone you know have a story to share that would encourage and challenge others who serve students?  Submit your stories to EducationConnection@www.jgdickson.com

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