In observation of Teacher Appreciation Week, I have invited MK Montgomery – an educator affiliated with Teach For America (TFA) in Louisiana – to discuss her experience teaching science in East Baton Rouge Parish. We are grateful for her and the many other instructors who inspire our students every day.
I believe our children deserve the sort of education that gives them choices and opportunities. It should not matter what zip code students are born into nor how much money their families have; every child should receive an education that prepares him or her for navigating the future.
So as my senior year at Saint Louis University was drawing to a close two years ago, I realized that I had a contribution I could make. And as I walked across the stage at graduation, I did so ready to take on a challenge that would forever change my life – teaching.
After college, I joined Teach For America’s South Louisiana region, trading in St. Louis for a city just down the Mississippi River. I became one of the 4,070 young men and women who joined TFA that year with the goal of ensuring that all children in our country might have access to an excellent education.
For 26 years, TFA’s South Louisiana region has partnered with schools, districts, and community leaders in East Baton Rouge and six surrounding parishes to provide local students with high-quality education. ExxonMobil has been a supporter and partner of TFA since the organization’s inception in 1990.
With the support of TFA and local partners like ExxonMobil that believe in the importance of engaging talented and committed individuals from all backgrounds and academic interests, corps members bring diverse perspectives and experiences to South Louisiana classrooms. Today, I work alongside 300 corps members and alumni to ensure educational opportunities for kids.
Teaching science at Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School, I find joy in watching my students grow throughout the year. It fills me with pride to see students who started the year not meeting grade-level expectations end it by exceeding the goals they had set for themselves. Teaching is about more than just delivering content to students. Teaching is about empowering your kids and believing in their potential, because it’s endless.
I learned just how endless that potential was when I witnessed students from my class earning first-place awards at the school’s science fair, which is the largest in the area. The ability to inspire students to achieve, especially in science, technology, and math, is a testament to the value of a teacher. More importantly, it demonstrates the values of a community that invests in its children.
Through annual giving, volunteer efforts, and more, ExxonMobil has solidified its place as a company that believes in community investment by supporting the educators who lead students to amazing outcomes. I can definitely see my kids continuing to fall in love with STEM – just as I once did – on their way to becoming the next generation of innovative leaders in this community.
MK Montgomery teaches science to 7th graders at Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana.