Iowa College Aid and programs such as GEAR UP Iowa work to help students prepare for an educational future after high school through college or other forms of study. For teachers such as Tara Brokovich, the impact of education can, and should, last for generations.
Serving as GEAR UP Iowa Coach and Special Education Teacher at Wilson Middle School in Cedar Rapids, Brokovich has organized meetings to help students prepare for the transition to high school, as well as overseen college campus visits to encourage students to have a college-going midset. The work serves her belief that teachers should help students engage beyond the classroom, teaching them more than just what they need to succeed in school and in life, but in the lives of all those they touch.
Brokovich’s words of wisdom serve as an apt conclusion to Teacher Appreciation Week, encompassing the holistic approach to teaching students to be part of the world, not just students:
“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” – Lao Tzu
The terms “leader” and “people” can easily be replaced with “teacher” and “students.” This quote fuels my passion to give students an education in and outside of the classroom that will pass down through generations. For example, I take my students on field trips which demonstrate the impact of what they are currently learning and how that transfers to the professional world. This year, I took my writing classes to our local TV station to see the importance of writing in media. Through GEAR UP Iowa, I arranged for recipients to experience college life through visits. As the sponsor of Service Club, my students are able to practice volunteerism and realize the significance in the community and for themselves. Finally, as a coach, I am able to teach my student athletes life lessons they will carry forever.