These Teachers Will Inspire You

Six local educators share their thoughts on risk-taking, equality, life after military service and what they've learned from your kids.

Photo by Skip Brown

Elaine Edwards

Model visual arts teacher, humanities coordinator and etiquette instructor

Drew Model School, Arlington

Years teaching: 13

● “I was born in 1965. That was a turbulent time for African Americans. My family was emphasizing how to conduct yourself in public because trying to get a job was more challenging.”

● “I’m a career switcher. This is far more rewarding than accounting. You’re touching people’s lives.”

● “Teaching has changed. I’ve become a mother. I’ve become a mentor to the parents. You have to dig in your pocket a whole lot more. Sometimes kids come to school and they may have a free breakfast but they don’t have lunch. I have bought clothes for kids. I’ve bought shoes. Getting their hair done. I have a bin of clothes that I keep in the back for the kids who need them.”

● “I call it fogging—I have to look beyond what I see and get to the root of what the problem is so I can help them calm down and focus.”

● “We just had a Daddy-Daughter Dance. All of the school males volunteered to stand in as fathers for the girls who did not have fathers.”

● “We started the etiquette program because we saw a need. The school is very diverse. A lot of times in low-income neighborhoods the focus is on making a living and academics. The skills you need to be able to hold a job—meet people or have an interview—are secondary. We thought this would help.”

● “If kids know how to conduct themselves, they’re less likely to be involved in bullying. They’re more likely to try to excel, to have more confidence to try to do their best.”

● “My mascot for teaching is the bee. Bees are extremely intelligent. They work in a community. They’re mathematicians and designers and very creative. They have the ability to take what they’ve gathered at one flower to another and help that flower also grow. I think about that as me and teaching.”

● “Art is the seasoning of life; it’s what makes everything better.”

● “If you have respect for yourself when you’re younger, you’re going to carry that on.”

–Madelyn Rosenberg

Categories: Education
Leave a Reply