Sara Niles

Dec. 24th Christmas Eve

In an article posted on Yahoo this Christmas eve, U.S. teachers are being seen in a new light as ‘heroes’ since teachers risked their own lives to save the children during the Newtown Connecticut shooting, and for some the risk was fatal.

Teachers have always been heroes, the problem is they just seldom receive the credit for all that they do.

President Barak Obama was quoted as saying the following:

“In South Korea, teachers are known as ‘nation builders,'” he said. “Here in America, it’s time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect.”


The role of teacher is one that has many facets from that of educator, role model, disciplinarian, counselor, confidant, mentor, and advocate and when the need comes, protector. Although most of the great teachers will quietly go unnoticed, a few outstanding ones received international attention, such as the following three Teachers and Principal:

Jaime Escalante: The Movie Stand and Deliver (1988) was based upon his story.

Escalante taught advanced calculus to kids who were considered lost causes and he provided more than just knowledge, he mentored the spirits of the broken and gave them hope and self confidence.

 “His passionate belief [was] that all students, when properly prepared and motivated, can succeed”

Gaston Caperton, former West Virginia governor


Marva Collins : The Marva Collins Story (1981) creator of  the Marva Collins teaching method; founded the Westside Preparatory School in the basement of Daniel Hale Williams University, later moving the school to her home. Collins firmly believed in the capacity of a child to learn, regardless of limitations or labels placed upon them- and she also believed the child learns from the teacher’s modeling, from what they see the teacher do than what the teacher says. 

Read more: http://www.notablebiographies.com/Co-Da/Collins-Marva.html#b#ixzz2FzBfUfrW


Joe Louis Clark, former principle of East Side High School in Paterson, N.J.

The movie: Lean On Me (1989) is loosely based upon Clark’s story

Clark the cover of TIME Magazine in 1988


Clark used his role as principle to save a school and the guide the misdirected toward the right way, taking the role of principle a step further as he mentored and protected as well. 

Erin Gruwell: the 2007 film The Freedom Writers was based upon her story. Erin Gruwell, the daughter of a civil rights activist, took on underperforming students, creating and personally financing a motivational curriculum that was tailored to fit the needs of the students. Gruwell’s methods were considered unorthodox but were highly effective and inspired excellence in the students, many of whom were formerly labeled as doomed for failure, went on to achieve undergraduate and graduate degrees, and became highly committed to making a positive difference in the world.

 From Wikipedia 12-23-2012:

“Following the Rodney King Riots and the O.J. Simpson trial, the mood in our city was unsettling, and on our first day of high school, we had only three things in common: we hated school, we hated our teacher, and we hated each other.”[1] This is a quote from the original Freedom Writers. Brought together in the classroom of Erin Gruwell, these students were taught to accept each other and accept themselves.”


Read the book the movie was based on:


 So now, would you not agree that teachers deserve our support and respect?

Merry Christmas All!

Sara Niles




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