Much More Than a Job

My husband, McKee, and I recently took our son, Tucker, to an appointment at St. Jude, one of the world’s leading children’s research hospitals that happens to be right here in Memphis. Although Tucker was only going in for a relatively minor issue, we were amazed at the level of care we received from the second we arrived on the St. Jude campus: from the security guards, to the nurses and doctors, to the cafeteria employees, every single person made us feel incredibly cared for and special. We walked away with a renewed appreciation for St. Jude, understanding on a more personal level that it is a place of profound hope in the midst of darkness for so many families.

As an MTR elementary coach, I have the opportunity to observe teachers in their classrooms and support them, and I see in our teachers the same passion and dedication I saw in those security guards, doctors, nurses, and cafeteria employees. This year, I watched Kamie love a difficult student by establishing and maintaining high expectations for her throughout the year. That first grader who stomped in the first day and continued to misbehave and disrupt class was the same little girl who cried on the last day of school because she didn’t want to leave. I saw Moriah serve her Mentor teacher and her students with a joyful heart. I observed Hanna as she learned the power of “Positive Framing” (a Doug Lemov technique from his book Teach Like a Champion).  As she encouraged her students and narrated the positive behavior in her classroom, behavior issues virtually disappeared.  I watched as Frank, with humility and relentlessness, pushed himself to improve in very specific ways. These MTR residents, and so many others, are making a difference in Memphis.

Although our missions are quite different, I think MTR and St. Jude have much in common. At MTR, we are in the business of training teachers to be a light, to bless and to serve, to give every single child the gift of an effective, loving, dedicated teacher. An MTR teacher, much like a doctor, has the opportunity to be a skilled practitioner: to perfect his or her art and to administer care in the form of an excellent education.