There’s something to be said for our principal. He’s a shortish man with a mustache; he’d look a little like Super Mario if he wore red overalls and a matching hat.

Principal of an inner city high school with the highest dropout rate in the district, he showed us this video at the latest staff meeting.

Then he gave a little monologue I decided to transcribe about halfway in. Here are the excerpts I ended up with:

“This video represents our kids. This guy was, what? Some guy with a regular job? He went all the way to the top. Our kids have hidden talents. We may not see it all the time; sometimes we never see it. Never stop believing in them. I don’t care if they don’t do anything all year long, but never stop believing in them.”


“I had three students in my office today. They weren’t all good students. In fact, they were all pretty poor students. But they all told me, ‘Don’t give up on me. I know I’m screwing around, but as soon as the teacher writes me off, that’s when I really give up.'”

If there’s a school this supportive of the students, and has this approach when dealing with teachers, it might just be one of those rare flocks in the education world worth joining and worth sticking with.

Inner-city setting be damned, I want to work here.


  1. Jacki

    Wonderful! I am so glad to hear you say that. I just came across your blog a few moments ago, saw this post, and was really really really hoping that you wouldn’t be describing a cushy suburban setting. My boyfriend is going into the Philadelphia Teaching Fellows next fall after finishing his Math degree. He could be doing many other things and making much more money, but he (just like you) has recognized the importance of having good, dedicated teachers in inner city schools. I hope that you reach tenure soon, and may you never forget the idealism you have now that is keeping you in the school district that you’re in. Those kids need you. Regardless of how clichéd it sounds, education is power.

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