Why I Do My Job

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John Oliver, anchor of the HBO comedy-news show Last Week Tonight, recently did a bit about the state of our nation’s infrastructure. He started by saying, “Infrastructure isn’t sexy.” He’s got a point. Roads and bridges and highways isn’t a terribly interesting topic. But it sure is an important one. Millions of Americans use our nation’s infrastructure every day. When those roads and bridges deteriorate, there are massive inconveniences and sometimes injury or death. What Oliver highlights in his piece is just how little attention we give to our infrastructure. More than that, just how much danger we could be in by ignoring it.

I couldn’t help but think about middle school education. I think we all can agree that middle school education is important, but how many people will stand up and fill the roles needed to see that education carried through? Middle school education isn’t sexy.

Earlier this week at a Loyola staff meeting, we addressed a specific student concern. We talked about a student who is really struggling—not so much academically, but behaviorally and socially. Both of his parents were included in the conversation, which ended up running almost an hour. That is, an hour past our normal ending time. But right up until our principal ended the meeting, all of our staff members were engaged and passionate about the issues at hand.

I firmly believe we could have talked for an hour about any one of our three score students. There is such an intense level of investment in every one of our students here. I didn’t know it when I started this year, but I know now that it is absolutely vital that our students succeed. If one student starts to crumble, it hurts the class, it hurts his family, and it hurts our school. A popular line at Loyola is “breaking cycles of poverty through education.” We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t believe it. We are here to prop up lives with education.

We are here to bridge the gap between elementary school and high school. We are ferrying them into a better life. Our students take roads to school and education into the future.

Middle school education is not sexy, but it is important.

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