Teachers are the Real Superheroes, Especially Detroit Teachers

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela

As we get ready to start school again this fall, I am always energized, renewed and overwhelmed with excitement by the Superheroes I see preparing their schools and classrooms to educate our next generation of young professionals.  My heart, like most educators, is on fire as we all seek to achieve and nurture global citizens as mentioned in The Declaration on the Future of Education, who can rise to the challenges of the 21st Century.

Looking back over history to the development of formal education, in 1837 Horace Mann the Father of Common School Movement, created a movement to ensure Public Education institutions would use to “achieve moral and social economic uplift of all Americans.” This movement was the beginning of teachers focusing on a mass population of people to advance our countries/world humanity goals. However, during the 20th and 21st Century we see education and teachers taking a lot of blame and stagnation of educational development and global sustainability.

In 1983, the year before I graduated from high school, the Reagan Administration declared we had a “Nation At-Risk” due to our educational crisis in America…..”at-risk” to the extent that would be a detriment to the advancement of our country. The report stated educators were not succeeding to educate all children, especially those in urban schools on basic literacy skills.  The lack of adequate education for mass generations of children as a whole was identified as the root cause of failure in United States.

Now, in 2018, more than ever you see major organizations like the Bill Gates K-12 Foundation, Ford Motor Company, Deloitte, Lear, General Motors Corporation, Beaumont Hospital and many universities and colleges collaborating with schools to assist with providing students the essential workforce and college skills they need to transform their families and communities.  This is happening at our Cornerstone Schools in Detroit, and it is making a tremendous difference in the lives of our students.

The word educate means to give intellectual, moral and social instruction to someone, typically at a school or university. Over centuries, teachers, whose praises I will shout from the mountain tops, are the real superheroes.  Despite all the bad publicity, declining education statistics, achievement gaps, and declining college enrollment in the teaching profession, they have single-handedly caused this country and the world to continue to find ways to sustain the evolution of the human race.  Every single American, regardless of how well you think they may have been educated, had to learn from a teacher.  Oh yes, teachers built this country! When you look around our wonderful country, you see the footprints of educators.  Not one person, physician, attorney, engineer, construction worker, judge, scientist, or the President of The United States achieved their accomplishments alone…they all had teachers to help them discover their purpose and passion. Daily, teachers systematically implement lesson plans that teach students how to read, write, conduct mathematical calculations, explore the scientific method and understand the Founding Documents of these United States. Without these superheroes that show up in the school trenches day-in and day-out across this country, who make the impossible possible, our world would be in a much more critical situation.

In closing, I am truly honored today to be an educator who proudly work alongside incredible supermen and superwomen who all share a renewed vision; and who are willing to chart a new course that is built on the premise by Horace Mann that education is a “human right”.  Against all odds, they will be the only way we can achieve the 2030 Global Goals to make our world a better place to live.  I will end with this very true quote that I have believed since I was a little girl, “To the world you may be just a teacher, but to your students, you are a Hero.” This is true of every teacher I’ve ever worked with, especially here in Detroit.

Pamela Farris
Pamela Farris
A life-long learner who has been in education for 20 years, 15 of which she has served as an administrator for children in K- 12th grade. Mrs. Farris attended University Detroit Mercy receiving a Bachelor’s degree in History, a Master's Degree in Curriculum Instruction, and a Master's/ Ed. Specialist Degree in Administration. Mrs. Farris has studied education in Oxford, England, led delegations to Kusatsu, Japan; toured schools in Israel and traveled to China to study International Baccalaureate schools to enhance her knowledge of the essential components needed to create education programs that will provide children with the skills they need to become global and critical thinkers in the 21st century. Now, as the Chief Academic Officer for Cornerstone Education Group, she has been afforded the opportunity to develop sustainable educational programs that will lead children to living fulfilling lives.