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Educator Makes a Difference for Kids in High-Poverty Schools

Salome Thomas-EL: 'Teachers Are 'Saving Private Ryan' Every Day'

Educator Salome Thomas-EL has dedicated his life to making a difference in high-poverty schools in Philadelphia. Thomas-EL inspires students by playing chess and by sharing his own story of growing up in housing projects with his mother.

ASCD recently had a conversation with Thomas-EL, and asked him an important question: Do you think teachers have a unique influence on how young people see their life possibilities?

"I do," he said in the interview. "I often say teachers are 'saving Private Ryan' every day. I see students in the schools where I work who hang on every word a teacher says. That influence is so powerful because for many students, that teacher becomes their mother, their father, their counselor, their nutritionist, their life coach. Many young people are the first in their families to have an opportunity to get a college education. It's very powerful for a teacher to be open with a young person and say, 'I made mistakes. I lived a tough life, but look where I am now. You can grow up and become even more than I am.' Just living your life in such a way that students understand when you say, 'You can be me because I was once you.'"

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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