Domonique McClendonis the director of national and diversity marketing at Teach For America.
While an education is essential in life, having dreams and a champion for those dreams is no less so. And that champion, for many kids, is their teacher. Our teachers, or shall we call them what they really are—heroes—have the chance to play such an important role in the lives of young people. They can help young people see their uniqueness as individuals, recognize their potential, and embrace their dreams.
Earlier this week, I attended Teachers Rock—a concert to celebrate and benefit our country’s educators—alongside TFA Los Angeles corps members, staff members, and thousands of fans. Musicians like Carrie Underwood and Josh Groban performed, and celebrities including Viola Davis and Meryl Streep spoke. Teach For America, along with Donorschoose.org and Feeding America, was acknowledged for the work we do to improve the lives of people in this country. It felt great to have our organization’s work recognized alongside so many other compassionate and committed leaders and groups.
We all know the importance and value of having a great education, and our nation’s teachers are consistently pushing their students to perform at high levels so that they can have the opportunities to excel in life. Yet so many of the personal reflections shared on stage at the Teachers Rock concert went far beyond teachers who challenged their students to excel in academics. The special guests and performers shared stories of the teachers that tapped into the heart of who they were as individuals and motivated them to dream in a way they hadn’t envisioned before. Many of the guests highlighted stories of teachers who saw and acknowledged a special gift in a student, taught with an energy and invention that pulled students in, and provided a place of solace for those who didn’t fit in to identify with themselves.
So do teachers rock? You bet they do. Not only for their work in the classroom, but also for the commitment, continuing support, and love they provide that helps put their students on path to reach their dreams.
Watch Teachers Rock tonight, Friday, August 17th, on CBS at 8 pm ET/PT.
Domonique McClendonis the director of national and diversity marketing at Teach For America. She lives in New York City, and in her spare time enjoys reading, watching all things related to Texas football, and putzing around the city with her divas and her boyfriend.