Teacher Voices: Ending Inequality Starts in the Classroom
Meghan Mackay – September 21, 2015
Over the summer, Meghan Mackay, principal of Success Academy Harlem 5, invited her staff to write and share their stories about why they chose to work at Success Academy. The responses she received are powerful expressions of commitment to the Success Academy community and to our mission of ending educational inequality in New York City. Below are three’s teachers inspiring personal stories.
Evelyn Kramer, Kindergarten Associate Teacher
I’ve always loved school. I can remember all of my past teachers, my classrooms, and the books we read in reading group each year. I remember learning how to count money in first grade, learning about mummies in second grade, and putting on a play of The Iliad in third grade. I remember the rush of countless ‘ah ha’ moments when a teacher explained something so that it finally clicked for me. When I was little, I thought the exciting and enriching school experience I had growing up was the norm. As I got older, I realized that my schooling was a privilege.
I’m at Success Academy because I want every child to have the incredible learning experience I have had, to feel the joy of reaching a new level of understanding, and to see a world in front of them that is full of possibilities. I know that my education shaped my beliefs, my drives, my work ethic, and the way I think. I am here today because so many adults invested in me and believed in me, and every child deserves that same investment. It is an investment well worth making, because I think if we can instill in kids an empathy for others, a passion for learning, a value of hard work, and a sense of strong moral and social responsibility, we can shape the kind of world we want to live in.
I’m at Success Academy because I want every child to have the incredible learning experience I have had, to feel the joy of reaching a new level of understanding, and to see a world in front of them that is full of possibilities.
Brandon Rodeman, Soccer Coach
In my teenage years, my life was consumed by soccer. It was the only way out for me. I could escape my problems and enter a field of joy whenever I pleased. My passion and deepest love — all focused on a ball, some grass, and dirt under the hot tropical sun. I went on to earn a living, see places and get to know people from all over the world, gain a college education, and become the man I am today all through the game of soccer.
For me this was always my biggest reason for wanting to honor those who had shown me the path of the player. It is my duty be that guide for others now, and to give back everything I have gained from the game. Of all the schools, programs, and clubs I have played and coached for, Success Academy is the perfect marriage of a vision I can fully stand behind and practices that allow me to maximize the potential of every person I interact with. I am here because this is what I love to do, and I couldn’t think of a better place to do it.
Keith Trump, Third Grade Lead Teacher
In our country, there are many forces working against the success of our students of color. Individuals are seldom successful when it comes to changing oppressive systems, but groups of intelligent and passionate thinkers dedicated to common goals can enact change. I am here to arm our children with the critical thinking skills they will need to conquer forces that seek to destroy them. I want our students to recognize the beauty of their individuality and to experience the power of a united community. I want to use the privilege of my educational opportunities to give our students a world-class education. I am not here to rescue our children from the ghetto or to make them white; I am here to give them weapons with which they can resist racism and claim the opportunities they deserve.