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April 3, 2014

Confessions of a Teacher: My Students Deserve More. ~ Amber Kane

Photo: Hitesh Pandya/Pixoto

“I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.” ~ Maya Angelou

I dreamed of being a teacher, until the day that I didn’t want to be one anymore. Well, it’s not that simple; I just wish that it was.

As a child, I looked up to my mom, who was an elementary teacher. I was envious of the piles of papers that she got to grade, the laminating she cut and the students she was able to teach. I wanted that, there was no question—at least, not until I got it.

It’s been seven years, not all has been bad. I still love teaching and love my students, but I hate the system.

The public school system is broken, and it appears to only be getting worse. The school claims to teach many things such as reading, writing, math, calculus, physics, all of which are great. But I’ve come to realize that the school forgot to teach empathy, kindness, and compassion.

As a high school art teacher, art and creativity hold a special place in my heart, but until students learn to empathize—until they’re able to be vulnerable—they will never make good art. Until they learn to ask questions, to explore, to be willing to fail—and fail often—they will never make good art.

I look at my students, know that they want and deserve more, but they don’t even know what that is. Know that they are capable of amazing things, if only we would set them free.

In order to achieve greatness we must create a strong foundation. In order for students to reach their full potential, they must learn empathy.

Until then, nothing else matters.

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Editorial Apprentice: Marcee Murray King / Editor: Renee Picard

Photo: Hitesh Pandya/Pixoto

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Amber Kane