By Dr. Laura Garrett, Putnam City Foundation Board Member
We are often asked, “Who was your favorite teacher?” It is a great question and we can all remember that teacher who made a dramatic difference in our lives. But, I would like to ask a different question. Who was that teacher’s favorite student? I bet the answer might surprise you.
As a faculty member, I try very hard to engage and inspire all my students. Inevitably though, as a teacher learns more about the class, students began to stand out. It is easy to build rapport with happy, motivated students but the students who often stick in my mind are those who come with seemingly insurmountable odds. They might be hungry or tired. They are parenting their siblings, working a job and still trying to stay up with their peers in class. They may come from a home where their parents did not have a good experience with education themselves. Some have already decided due to outside feedback that they are not “good students”. But, with all these challenges, my favorite students still show up. They try, they fail, and they try again. All it takes is a bit of encouragement, some learning strategies and grit and they will walk across the graduation stage. Graduation is my favorite time of year. I celebrate with all my students, but I may cheer a little louder for those students who gave it even more than they thought they had.
So, what can we all do to help these at-risk students succeed? Get involved at your local school. Bring new coats to Penny’s Closet. Donate to the Putnam City Foundation. Our programs allow teachers to expose ALL students to wonderful events and activities that engage students in exciting and understandable concepts. All children should be able to come to school with a level playing field. Putnam City is committed to offering top notch arts, STEM programs and cutting-edge curriculum. The Foundation is pledged to inspiring teachers, students, staff and parents and you are an integral part of that effort.