Reading Matters …

By Brad Neff
Some of us know firsthand the power of a public school teacher.
We know well how an exceptional teacher can change the life of a student. At the four schools I work at, I’ve met some such teachers. Some of them are new to the Hamtramck Public Schools. Some are not. All of them stress reading, the cornerstone of all lifetime learning. Few things could be more important.
Please realize that some of the new generations of Hamtramck children walk through cobwebs of discouragement and loneliness. They pass through streets of conflict, anger, obstacles and poverty.
They sense a darkness to the poverty.
Many of them live on streets barely lit, in houses dim, in rooms tarnished by those who have passed before. For such students, it is often the professional educator who offers a way out, an academic path toward eventual success.
For many of these students, elementary and middle school levels, my school district now offers a restorative practices program. (It’s a discipline program based more upon cooperation, listening, and motivation than fear, expulsion, and history. It’s a program that can increase motivation, self-worth, and achievement.)
Such a program, along with some exceptional Hamtramck Public School educators, can overcome mediocrity and increase literacy. It can also offer hope, the light that illuminates pathways that lead to a successful future.
Along with the legacy of exceptional teachers, hope can create the love of learning that helps children change their lives for the better.
(Mr. Neff is a media specialist for the Hamtramck Public Schools.)

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