Saturday, August 7, 2010

Alum visiting Coker

As I opened the door of the Midnight Rooster this Saturday morning I saw this long line waiting for some great Rooster coffee. Then, not exactly in line was a very familiar face Jen Crocker Roberts. Jen, a Coker College alum and former communication major, is in town for some alumni leadership events. It was great to be able to say hello!

Jen told me that she taught kindergarten last year and this year she is becoming a teacher of first graders. My response was that she was becoming a miracle worker. I have long believed that first-grade teachers who can teach five and six year old the magic of reading are the miracle readers of our society. She told me that even in kindergarten the kids were making great strides in learning to read. Jen's eyes lit up as she talked of teaching, though she did mention how much is being expected of teachers in the classroom. People don't really understand but being able to understand the symbols of the written word as actually meaningful is a miracle of cognition as well as a miracle of pedagogy. Classroom teachers, who don't get anywhere near the compensation their skills should demand, are real change agents in our society.

We didn't get to talk long because her Coker meeting was to start in a few minutes but it was great to reconnect with Jen and remember when she thought teaching would never be her future. For me it was great to talk with a teacher who was at the top of her class in academics, leadership and athletics and know that she is helping create miracles in kindergarten and first grade students -- students who need the best to guide them in their school experiences. Jen would have been a fantastic PR person, a fantastic marketer and a great media person but I am glad she decided on teaching -- because our children deserve the best leading their classrooms. Jen is not earning six figures but I would wager the difference she will make in the classroom will have a much greater impact than many whose salaries will total more.

It is also great from a faculty perspective that Jen and about 40 other alumns are supporting Coker with their time on a Saturday in August when there are so many others things they could be doing. This support is so important to our small, liberal arts college! BTW -- While in the Rooster she did say -- "I had to have my coffee from the Rooster."

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