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Huffington Post Blog: Unleashing the Fierce Power of Your Belief

By Harriet Sanford

President & CEO
The NEA Foundation

Harriet sanfordThis month, the new class of teachers who will enter the education workforce in America’s schools will graduate from colleges and universities across the nation. As more teachers retire, our workforce is skewing younger. Recent college graduates comprise the largest percentage of newly hired teachers nationwide, leading to fresh ideas on bridging the achievement gap. On May 10, 2015 I gave the commencement speech at the Neag School of Education, the University of Connecticut, where I offered suggestions for the nation’s newest teacher graduates, the most important of which are excerpted below.

Teaching matters. You hear that a lot, but it’s true. It matters. And so do the children we teach–every single child. If you do not believe in the immense learning power of each and every student, no matter what the circumstances, neither you nor your students will be successful. Finding and nurturing that power is what teaching is all about, and can help you rejuvenate your commitment to teaching at every stage of your career.

New research on brain science uses words like “mindset,” “grit,” “plasticity,” and “resilience” to drive home the idea that attitude matters, and that even the lowest-performing students can turn a page and overcome the achievement gap, given the right encouragement. These words are all important, but I’d like to offer another word.


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Continue reading the blog, “Unleashing the Fierce Power of Your Belief,” on the Huffington Post.

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