Opinion
Education Opinion

Not a teacher? Not a problem. It takes a village. And you’re in the village.

By Jessica Shyu — April 30, 2008 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

As an eduholic, I obsess over education and I’m angry about the achievement gap. And when I’m obsessed over something I’m angry about (imagine ex-boyfriends, people who don’t use their turn signals, and the achievement gap) I tend to become more emotional and less logical. (Imagine vengeful emails, excessive honking, and getting angry at anyone who isn’t a teacher .)

There was a time (and sometimes there still is) when I feel holier than thou and act as if anyone who doesn’t dedicate their life and paycheck to closing the education gap only makes it wider. It’s easy to feel all alone in this big, wide capitalistic reality. There have been times when I felt a tinge of martyrdom for my decision to work in education when my friends have chosen more lucrative careers as i-bankers, lawyers and doctors. Can you believe it? Doctors save lives and I dare feel like a martyr?!

As an obsessive and angry person when it comes to the achievement gap, I’ve learned to check my biases frequently so I don’t say stupid things like above. But more importantly, I’ve learned to check my biases about people not in the business of education because getting them in on this mission is the only way the achievement gap can close on such a broad scale. I know that great classroom teaching is the cornerstone to closing the gap, but I also know that every single person in the village has a responsibility and the tools to close the gap, whether they’re a teacher, a nurse or an i-banker. The bad news is that a whole lot of people still don’t believe that it’s their problem or that all children can learn or that they as non-traditional educators can do anything to help. The good news is that I am confident we all know people out there who are already doing it.

Need proof or just a pick-me-up to counteract your obsessiveness and anger over the state of society? Poets, editors and playwrights in New York City are closing the gap outside of schools by doubling as mentors to girls from disadvantaged backgrounds to help develop them as writers and leaders.

In the after-school scene at a Florida high school where “just graduate” is more heavily emphasized than “go to college,” a group of students are changing their futures by designing a prep course and teaching each other. The founder of this after-school group? Sixteen-year-old junior William Scott who didn’t allow his age and lack of teacher training keep him from having a hand in closing the achievement gap.

And let’s not forget about the people who are closing the gap by getting kids to school safely to even start learning. After 32 school-age children in Chicago were killed last year in their own neighborhoods, Deverra Beverly, a community activist, pulled together parents and community leaders to form an escort service to help protect kids crossing gang territory as they went to and from school. Ms. Beverly and the others are most likely not teachers in the traditional sense, but they’re making sure we’re not alone in closing the achievement gap.

The opinions expressed in New Terrain are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Building Teacher Capacity for Social-Emotional Learning
Set goals that support adult well-being and social-emotional learning: register today!


Content provided by Panorama
Jobs October 2021 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Tiny Wrists in Cuffs: How Police Use Force Against Children
An investigation finds children as young as 6 and a disproportionate amount of Black children have been handled forcibly by police officers.
15 min read
Jhaimarion, 10, reacts as he listens to his mother, Krystal Archie talking with an Associated Press reporter in Chicago on Sept. 23, 2021. Archie’s three children were present when police, on two occasions, just 11 weeks apart, kicked open her front door and tore through their home searching for drug suspects. She’d never heard of the people they were hunting. Her oldest child, Savannah was 14 at the time; her youngest, Jhaimarion, was seven. They were ordered to get down on the floor.
Jhaimarion, 10, reacts as he listens to his mother, Krystal Archie talking with an Associated Press reporter in Chicago on Sept. 23, 2021. Archie’s three children were present when police, on two occasions, just 11 weeks apart, kicked open her front door and tore through their home searching for drug suspects. She’d never heard of the people they were hunting. Her oldest child, Savannah was 14 at the time; her youngest, Jhaimarion, was seven. They were ordered to get down on the floor.
Nam Y. Huh/AP
Education Gunman in 2018 Parkland School Massacre Pleads Guilty
A jury will decide whether Nikolas Cruz will be executed for one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings.
3 min read
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP
Education Briefly Stated: October 20, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Gunman in Parkland School Massacre to Plead Guilty
The gunman who killed 14 students and three staff members at a Florida high school will plead guilty to their murders, his attorneys said.
4 min read
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP