Reflection on Education Pioneers Fellowship

Looking back at my summer as an Education Pioneers fellow, I am proud of the work my cohort members and I have accomplished. 2013 marks the 10-year anniversary of Education Pioneers, which has produced 1,600 alumni who have helped transform education in America.

Education Pioneers and DC Action for Children has shown me the complexities of the education landscape. I have learned that it will take many passionate leaders to enact the change our education system needs, and when constructing education policy it is imperative to involve teachers. Often teachers can provide insight that those outside of the classroom will miss.

I have started to truly understand how tough a teacher’s job can be and the numerous things a teacher has to do besides teach. Students face hardships through learning disabilities, unsafe neighborhoods, homelessness, hunger and poverty. When students face so much adversity, teachers can spend a lot of their time helping students navigate many of life’s issues before even addressing a lesson plan.

I often wonder how teachers can play so many roles, such as educator, counselor, leader and mentor, while still pushing their students to meet grade-level standards. It is truly impressive how versatile teachers can be.

This summer has given me a new respect for our educators. Teachers have direct insight into our student’s lives and are given the giant task of cultivating the next generation of leaders. This piece of knowledge is one of many I will carry with me beyond this fellowship, as I finish my graduate education and embark on a career in public service. I am honored to have had the opportunity to help DC Action for Children advocate for all of DC’s children and youth, and by extension, appreciate all the adults who teach and care for them.

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