Today’s Pass The Chalk post features reflections on family from father and daughter corps members Leila (San Antonio '10) and Scott Graham (San Antonio '11) in honor of National Family Week.
As we enter Thanksgiving week and make our holiday preparations, I find myself reflecting on family and my many blessings. As I reflect, I realize that it’s almost impossible for me to think of family without conjuring up images of the children I teach at Page Middle School in San Antonio, Texas.
“My kids” at Page are my extended family whom I love. After our day together in the classroom, I coach many of them in one sport or another—just as I coached my biological kids in years gone by.
It frightens me to think that the wonderful situation I find myself in almost never happened. Becoming a teacher had always been a dream of mine, but after I retired from the Air Force, it had become more like a distant memory.
My daughter, Leila, a 2010 Teach For America corps member, wanted me to follow in her footsteps, but her initial efforts to recruit me were futile as I explained (on more than one occasion) that I was far too old to join the corps.
Leila—who gets her “persistence” gene from her mother—didn’t give up. Before you know it, she had sparked a fire in me that I thought for sure was put out long, long ago. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I belonged in a classroom, teaching children right in the heart of San Antonio. I also knew that I had a wonderful, smart, beautiful role model who was going to help her daddy every step of the way.
I’ve heard it time and again that it takes a special person to teach kids in an underserved area. Quite frankly, I couldn’t imagine teaching anywhere else. I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
The relationships that I have developed with my kids and their families have truly humbled me. They make me a better person and I’m convinced that I learn just as much from them as they do from me.
And to think, I have my little girl, Leila, to thank for mentoring me and showing me the path that God wanted me to travel. I truly am a very blessed man!
Scott Graham is a 2011 San Antonio corps member. He considers his family—his wife, Terry, and their five children, Chris, Scott, Leila, Katie, and Jake—his biggest blessing.