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“When we convince teachers they are actually similar to their students, there is a big effect on grades.”

 – Todd Rogers, as quoted in New York Times Op-Ed, “Don’t Suspend Students. Empathize.” by David Kirp

As David Kirp writes in his recent New York Times Op-Ed, there are light -touch interventions teachers can learn and practice that can help them understand and empathize with their students.

As our students get ready for a new school year, so do teachers.  My friend Barbara’s daughter just got a job as a Kindergarten teacher, her first teaching job….and she is scared.  Scared of making mistakes…..of not doing it right.  Ah…..interesting…..I bet just like some of her Kindergartners.  Teaching is a really hard job; I know because I was one.  Most go into the profession because they care about children; they want to make a difference; they want kids to succeed.  They just need help and support, coaching and resources….and empathy too.

So, if you have friends who are teachers, or your children are in school, remember them too as the new school year begins.  So often underpaid (particularly those in preschools and early learning centers) and underappreciated, they could use your encouragement, your gratitude….and your empathy.  Our world’s future depends on them.

By Kitty Lopez, Executive Director First 5 San Mateo County