American Education Week, November 12–16, presents a wonderful opportunity to celebrate public education and honor individuals who are making a difference in ensuring that every child receives a quality education. Newport News Public Schools (NNPS) are advancing and preparing students to be college, career and citizen-ready. With the help of our dedicated educators, academic achievement is increasing, students are taking more rigorous coursework and students are participating in service learning in all grades.
In honor of American Education Week, Dillon Fail, one of the many dedicated educators in Newport News Public Schools, shares his perspective about his profession.
What is an educator?
Those who are sought after to teach, inspire or encourage are lumped under the umbrella of “educators.” At their core, educators are students themselves. We enter the classroom each day eager for a chance to learn, a chance to achieve, a chance to make a connection. Upon entering the classroom, we find ourselves opening our minds, arms and hearts to students from all walks of life. Our doors are opened to students from Chesapeake Avenue to Lee Hall, each of whom we strive to offer a sense of community.
I was born and raised in Newport News. Educators in this city molded me into the person who I am today. Their example set me up for a successful career in the same city in which I was raised. Newport News Public Schools continues to be a champion of innovative curriculum and developing learners as citizens of the world. My colleagues push me on a daily basis to be better, smarter and stronger. Educators in this city are skilled at our craft; yet, are always looking to improve ourselves. We are proud of the work that we do every day and proud to represent our city.
Educators serve our students as confidants, experts and support systems. As masters of adaptation, educators have learned to embrace the uncertainty of a weekday. Educators have core beliefs by which they live and work. On a daily basis those core beliefs are proven, examined and even tested. In Newport News, we abide by the belief that “smart is something you become.” Our city’s educators strive to implement that belief on a daily basis, knowing that each of our students faces unique challenges outside of the classroom walls.
We are change agents.
We are benevolent yet frugal in our instruction, knowing when and to whom each is required.
We are champions of those in need.
We are admirers of responsibility, bravery, compassion and collaboration.
We are far more blessed by the faces in our classroom than they are by us.
We are malleable and work to serve our students—with high fives, hugs and handshakes and as counselor, cheerleader and coach.
We are all of these things yet so much more, and that’s just before the first bell rings.
Dillon Fail is a fifth-grade teacher at Dutrow Elementary School. He has been shaping young minds for four years.
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