April 08, 2015 15:21 Age: 3 yrs

Why I Teach: A Teacher-In-Residence's Story

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Samantha Jones is a teacher-in-residence at AF Bushwick Middle.

At the AF Bushwick Middle retreat, our principal Mike Rosskamm asked us to speak about the “big why”: Why do we teach at AF Bushwick Middle?

I immediately thought of two of my brothers growing up in Brownsville and Crown Heights. I do this work because every time I see my eighth-graders, I’m looking at my brothers and at my younger self.

I remember coming home from school one day and finding out that my oldest brother was slashed from ear to ear. On a second occasion, I recall my other brother getting jumped and robbed by a bunch of boys from high school. Every time I see my eighth-grade male students, I am reminded that my role here is to push them to be great citizens who build strong character and work habits, so that they can make a great future for themselves once they leave AF Bushwick Middle. I know that standing on the street corner every morning with no ambition is not an option for them.

I remember in particular one of my classmates from high school. By junior year, she was on her third child. I want my eighth-grade female students to have a future filled with opportunity and possibilities. When I look at these vibrant young women in my eighth-grade classes, every day I aim to push them to be strong in academics and in character, to believe in themselves, and to see the value in the quality of their education.

My students are my "big why."

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