Who Was Your 4th Grade Teacher?
The difference between a strong teacher and a weak teacher lasts a lifetime. Having a good fourth-grade teacher makes a student 1.25 percent more likely to go to college, the research suggests, and 1.25 percent less likely to get pregnant as a teenager. Each of the students will go on as an adult to earn, on average, $25,000 more over a lifetime - or about $700,000 in gains for an average size class - all attributable to that ace teacher back in the fourth grade.
I grew up in a small town in Connecticut called Easton. It was a rural town, not fancy, but it was a town whose residents cared about education and the public schools. There was an importance placed behind education and I can honestly say the teachers cared. I also cannot remember having a bad experience with any teacher throughout grade school. In fact, as I write this I recall many of their names (Mr. Goad, Mr. DiGregorio, Mrs. Line) and the lessons they taught. These teachers were long-termers and their passion and caring has clearly has stuck with me.
After reading last week's NYT story, I paused and took a few minutes to reflect on those teachers, especially my fourth grade teacher, who influenced my early years. It's amazing the impact these individuals have on one's life. To each of my childhood teachers I am eternally grateful and to all teachers, thank you for all the things, big and small, that you do each and every day.