The 2014 White House Teacher Social was a life-changing experience.
Last week, my class was asked by a professor what led us to our current doctoral program. My wheels started turning….what led me here?
It took a little while, but I started to backtrack through my recent memories. And I started thinking about Twitter, which made me think back to the White House Teacher Social…
I recalled our conversation with Sec. of Education Arne Duncan. He had just visited with Finland’s Minister of Education, and had become convinced that our higher education system was not doing enough for preservice teachers to be successful after they became professionals. In Finland, they teach to lead. In the United States, they leave teaching. Secretary Duncan told us on that day that we “need to look at education as an investment, not an expense.”
I recalled our conversation with Eric Waldo, who worked with Michelle Obama on creating equitable college entrance experiences for all students of all socioeconomic classes, races, and backgrounds.
And finally, I recalled our conversation with Dr. Jill Biden (after our super exciting photo op!) and I remember her enthusiasm and zeal for supporting veteran teachers. She asked, “how do we lift teachers up?” She even invited us to email her suggestions on how to best support teachers. (Sadly, I don’t think I ever did this.)
These conversations, plus the many others that took place among us that day, replayed in my mind the whole ride home back to Charlotte, North Carolina. Fortunately, those conversations stuck with me for a while after that. Soon after that fateful day in May, I guess I realized that I wanted to make a greater impact in education than within the four walls of my classroom. So, I applied to go back to school to advance my education. Once I graduate, I hope I can make progress in the areas that Sec. Duncan, Dr. Biden, the White House staff, and we discussed back in 2014.
So, yeah. The 2014 White House Teacher Social was a life-changing experience.