Here's why we need teachers, firefighters, and police officers
I could have been labeled as an at-risk youth in high school, but my teachers pushed me to be better and work harder. As a first generation-student, I was the first person in my family to graduate from college. Every step of the way I had teachers and professors who would become my mentors. I wouldn’t trade my path for anything and I am so grateful for all my teachers - past, present and future.
My mother was forced to drop out of school at a young age, but that didn’t stop her love of education. She continued to get her GED and has been teaching Head Start for 15+ years. She has been a great role model for continuing my education and now she will see me graduate from Oregon State with Michelle Obama as the commencement speaker. I am on my way to obtaining my Master’s degree and beginning my own path as an educator.
There is no educational policy that can be more successful in improving America’s school systems than a driven teacher. As a college student, I have benefited from the knowledge and dedication of my teachers; as the daughter of a teacher, I have witnessed that passion first-hand. Because of the teachers in my life, I can now make a difference in the world.
My public-school teachers and professors showed me how to use my skills to improve this world, and how to be critically-thinking, open-minded, and sensitive adult. My grandfather’s career as a firefighter enabled him to save lives and raise five healthy and intelligent children. I owe everything I have and am to these public servants!
I grew up in a house with both parents hard-working educators. Two of my uncles are paramedics and fire-fighters. My cousin and I both graduated high school last year, and in the last year, we have both figured out our passions: to be like our parents. I have just finished my first year of college on my way to becoming a high school teacher, and he just finished paramedic school. PLEASE don’t take away our dream of helping others and being heros, just like our parents.
My English teacher in eleventh grade inspired my love for literature, my love for the written word, and my love for the English language. The most important thing she taught me was how to be a strong and independent woman.
My parents both taught for over 30 years because they knew they were making a difference in the lives of each student that that had. Even to this day my parents will hear from former students who have given them credit for inspiring their occupation.
My mother taught English to 7th-grade students for many years. I think that my desire to become both an educator and a scientist stems from her passion about education - her goals were always to get her students to think, and to give them a set of tools they could use (as opposed to only a grade that would allow them to advance to the next course of study). I am now a cognitive psychologist - an assistant professor, and I’m proud to say that I’m part of a department, and a university, that recognizes the value of high-quality education and scholarship.
In my neighborhood we have our own police officer. Her name is Heidi. Most of the residents are elderly and/or physically or mentally disabled. Heidi is always here for us. She doesn’t just patrol our neighborhood; she comes in our buildings. She says hello, asks how we’re doing, listens to us. We can ask her anything, tell her anything, and she’ll help us, whether it’s official police business or simple problem solving. If Heidi doesn’t know the answer, she’ll find it for us. She’s here for us. Heidi isn’t just any Madison Police Officer. She’s our Madison Police Officer. That means a lot to us.
In 1996 my apartment burned to the ground. My best friend, my dog and myself all narrowly escaped with our lives. When we arrived at the hospital one of the firemen was there. He came in with one of his own who was injured in the fire. He came over to me with a pink stuffed piggy and said it was for me. I’m quite sure I cried, a lot. He stayed with me in the hospital for hours while I underwent some incredibly painful tests. He held my hand. I will never forget him, or his kindness.