Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Day Made Better: Office Max & Teachers

To our family, he’s Jared or “Me-Jared” because when he’d answer the phone when he was little and was asked “Who is this?”, he’d always say “It’s Mejared”. Now he’s “Mr. Fox”, high school English teacher in New Orleans. In his final year of college, Jared applied to Teach for America, a federal program that sends much-needed teachers into low-income areas of the United States. After graduating from college in May, Jared came home for two short weeks before packing everything he owned and driving from Cleveland, Ohio to New Orleans to begin his training for his teaching assignment. While teaching was something that he discovered he loved later in his college years, his enthusiasm for his subject matter and his students is infectious. He and I spent an hour on the phone discussing books we’ve read in the past that he wants to share with his students. He’s also taking my love of sweepstakes and incorporating it into his teaching by offering “prizes” for good test scores and extra credit assignments…prizes he’s paying for out of his own pocket. I know those first few weeks of school, Jared spent a lot of time after school buying notebooks, folders and pens for students who couldn’t afford them. The parish Jared teaches in is one where the families are struggling financially and many of his students hold jobs to bring in extra income for their families. Jared hadn’t even gotten his first paycheck yet and called me to borrow some money so he could buy more notebooks for his students.
I know Jared spends most of his weekend coming up with creative learning techniques to make English fun for his students; he’s working on an interactive book report project where students can either dress up, use the computer, or even make puppets to give their oral book report. He frequently calls me to bounce new ideas off me to make learning fun for his students.
I applaud Office Max and their A Day Made Better campaign for recognizing teachers that not only give of themselves but give from their own pockets to make their students’ lives better. As his mom I’m couldn’t be any prouder of Jared and the dedication he’s shown to his students and his new school.