my students, in them i believe

Michael - Atlanta, Georgia
Entered on January 1, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: children, hope
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

In this I believe…

I believe in the children I teach. I believe in their ability and desire to procure a successful future for themselves and the world in which they will live. Daily, I encounter and engage with students from a wide range of socio-economic levels, possessing limited linguistic skills, and arriving to school from fluid home conditions. Still, I see success from my students. Sometimes, the greatest success I encounter comes from the most unlikely of students.

I am an optimist, but not an unqualified optimist. When a glass is filled half-way to the top, it is merely a clever exercise in semantics to use terms such as half-full, or half-empty as a description. I believe the correct response to the half-way to the top question is to pose another question. Is water being added to the glass, or is it being removed? I see the glass filling. I see the glass filling by the interest, and efforts of my students as they endeavor to understand the subject at hand – biology, chemistry, or physics. Some struggle more than others. True, some students are not academically successful, but most earnestly try to be successful. In their effort to understand and integrate learning, and then apply it to the real world, students demonstrate success, and give substance to my belief in them.

It is important to me that I reciprocate belief. Students rely on me to do this. Students count on me to be prepared in terms of knowledge, methodology, and receptiveness to their needs. I strive to challenge each academically, but I never lose sight of each student’s humanity. At times, it is necessary that I assume a different role than academician. Then, what I do is more accurately described as parenting. By parenting a little, I have the opportunity to teach a great deal. I accept the duality, and do the best I am able. In the end, teaching and learning are human activities. I am one link in the chain of learning that began before me, but through me is extending to my students. I intend to see that the chain is forged true and strong, and it will provide a basis for the next link. My students seem intent on doing their part. So, I believe in them, and I am proud of them.