I know that this prompt asks about the impact a student or colleague had on me. As I think about my eleven years as an educator in Howard County, I can think of two people who have really shaped my values and beliefs about teaching.
They are not students. They are not colleagues. They are actually my parents.
My parents married in India, but my father came to the United States first for work. He landed at JFK airport in New York on July 4th 1975. Later, my mother joined my father in December 1977. I think about the struggles they had- limited English, no family, no money, and no community. They worked days and nights, living paycheck to paycheck. Despite these hardships, they continued to instill the belief that working hard in school will pay off in the end. I learned about the importance of compassion and kindness. Whenever I feel like complaining, I think about my parents. They taught me to be strong, find ways to move on, and learn from my mistakes.
I think about my parent’s story, and realize they are the reason why I became an ESOL teacher.
Just like my parents, my students and families come to this country for a better life or a new experience. They deserve a safe place in our schools and community. Nobody should ever feel like they don’t belong. My students often share their story about traveling to the United States. I know I am the teacher, but I realize that I am lucky to have met them. They are so young, but yet full of life.