By Tammy Duckworth
I know firsthand the difference a teacher can make in a student’s life.
When I was a child, my dad lost his job — and all too quickly, my family was forced to depend on food stamps to survive.
My English teacher must’ve known we were struggling because every so often, he’d make up an excuse for me and a few other hungry kids to stay after the final bell — then would apologize for keeping us late by giving us a few dollars for a meal, helping me focus on my education and not my empty stomach.
If it weren’t for him, I might have had to drop out of school. If it weren’t for him, I might have never joined the military. And if it weren’t for him, I certainly would not be a U.S. senator today.
That teacher was exceptional. But he wasn’t unique. Rather, he epitomized the compassion of so many of the educators who help our kids learn, grow and become the best versions of themselves.
The power of the classroom
My older daughter began preschool last spring, and in the time since, I’ve realized more than ever the power of the classroom — especially in those early years when our kids’ minds are eager to absorb every new word and idea presented to them.