Success Starts with Teachers

Every success in life, no matter how big or small, starts with at least one great teacher. All of us remember a selfless, dedicated teacher who affected the trajectory of our lives in some way.

An English  teacher encouraged me to pursue a career as a writer. Ultimately, that helped me create a successful business, which employed dozens of people.

A reading teacher inspired my wife to a lifelong love of learning that led her to a career in medicine.

For my son, it was a Bear Branch Elementary teacher who, during a competition in El Paso, organized a side trip to Juarez. The poverty he saw there led him to join the Peace Corps years later. In Africa, he learned to organize people – with few or no resources – to produce results that made lasting improvements in their lives.

Who was it for you? A coach who taught you how to overcome defeat with persistence and patience? A teacher who stood up to gang members trying to recruit you? Someone who took money out of her own pocket to buy you school supplies your mother couldn’t afford?

Was it a special-ed teacher who taught you how to overcome a disability? A Spanish teacher who enabled you to do business around the world? A science teacher who inspired your search for new sources of energy? Or someone who taught you to cope with bullies?

Teachers don’t teach for the money or because they love to give tests. They teach in spite of those things – in spite of long hours, stress, overwhelming class sizes, and endless paperwork.

Teachers teach for the chance to improve someone else’s life and, through their students, to improve all of our lives. Yet they seldom receive the thanks or support they deserve. If elected, I will work tirelessly to ensure our teachers have the time, tools, training and freedom to inspire your child to become the best she or he can be.

This post will appear in the Tribune newspapers as a print ad the week of 4/16/17. Please clip it out and send it with a note of appreciation to your child’s teacher or, perhaps, a teacher of your own. To download and email it, click below.