StoryCorps, a national non-profit oral history project is recording, sharing, and preserving teachers' stories through its National Teachers Initiative, which launched September 19, 2011. StoryCorps, a TeachersCount content partner, hopes to call attention to the contributions teachers have made to this nation.
"Do you remember your first day being a teacher?"
Ron Cushman spent nearly 30 years teaching kindergarten in Bothell, Washington, a suburb outside of Seattle. But he hadn’t always planned on becoming a teacher. As Ron told his former student, Jamie Marks, his journey to the kindergaten classroom began when he was wounded in Vietnam.
"There was nothing more that I wanted to do than to protect you."
For students who are struggling, sometimes the difference between success and failure can start when a teacher takes the time to listen. In these two stories from our National Teacher’s Initiative, teachers go beyond the classroom to help their kids. In 2004, Kate Musick (L) was teaching third grade at T.C. Walker Elementary school in Gloucester, Virginia. When Harleé Patrick (R) walked into the room, Musick saw a troubled child. Harleé is now a teenager, and the two came to StoryCorps to talk about how she made it through that year. The second story comes from Los Angeles, where 19-year-old Jose Catalan, who is studying to become a math teacher, sat down with his former high school teacher Carlos Vizcarra to talk about how they became friends.
"I went home that first night, and I was like, 'What am I doing?'"
Tyrese Graham is a second year science teacher at John Marshall Metropolitan High School on the West Side of Chicago. When he started teaching, Marshall was among the worst public schools in the city. At StoryCorps, Tyrese talked about his first day on the job.
"I worked harder than I have ever thought of working."
Mikala Rahn is the founder of Learning Works–a charter school in Pasadena, California, for kids who have dropped out of traditional schools.
At StoryCorps, Mikala sat down with one of the first students she helped graduate, Carlos Cruz.
Carlos now works at the school Mikala founded; he is one of several employees called Chasers.
They make sure students get to class, turn in their assignments, and study for tests. Many Chasers were dropouts themselves and a few have been to prison, like Dominick Correy, who served time for burglary.
Dominick often works alongside Carlos, and here the two talk about their job.