Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Volunteering with RE led to teaching

I never thought I would be an advocate for educational change and student success. I always knew I valued education and loved kids, but never thought I would choose a career in education.

I began working with Raising Expectations because I wanted to do some volunteer work while I was at Spelman College. I would work with children a few hours a week and be able to handle my course load all at the same time. My purpose for being there quickly changed once I learned that my passion for children went beyond how funny they could be or how sweet the little ones were. My passion lied in the impact that I wanted to have on children’s lives and their outlook on education. Working with the children in Raising Expectations was the beginning of a true change in my life. It gave me the opportunity to see how the environment the children were living in, truly did effect how they saw school, teachers and education as whole. Getting an education was not a priority to them. My job at that point, was to change how children viewed not only school, but how they viewed themselves. Raising Expectations provided me with the tools that I needed to change children’s expectations of what education could do for them, as well as how to help them raise the expectation they had for themselves and their futures.

I graduated from Spelman in 2004, and began teaching first grade in Atlanta Public Schools. I have been teaching elementary school in lower income communities for six years and I now teach fourth grade at Benteen Elementary School in Atlanta. I am also a graduate student at Central Michigan University, where I am pursuing a master’s degree in educational leadership. Over the past 10 years, I have become an advocate for children and continue to raise the bar of expectations for all children.

I began working with Raising Expectations because I wanted to change children’s lives, but in the end, Raising Expectations changed my life.

Ms. Alexis Dimes-Smith
4th grade teacher
RE Volunteer 2001-2004

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