Mami Reads: Mission Possible

You guys know I love books. When The SITS Girls sent me an email about reviewing Mission Possible I jumped at it for several reasons. I have been giving education A LOT of thought.

Thinking about what type of learning environment the frog princess should be in and then looking at the school system here in Florida has left me feeling slightly defeated and I haven't even started yet! I know a lot of educators and I am always in awe as to how they can work/perform/excel with constant budget cuts and less than ideal situations.

Personally, I don't agree with teaching kids solely to pass a test, which is how I generally feel things are done here. Understanding that I had to find an environment for my child to flourish in but also knowing that my sole responsibility is not just to my own child as I think broadly about my community and country.

Then came this book. I don't even know what to tell you in this post because I starred way too many quotes, way too many principles and way too many discussions to put in here. I'd have to retype the entire book for you! I got a chance to learn about what The Success Academies are doing in NYC and it brought me hope that perhaps the education system will change in order to truly meet the needs of all of our children.

I was educated by the NY Public School System. And I had some pretty awesome teachers. They engaged me, they challenged me and they allowed me to flourish. In 5th grade my teacher realized that I was ahead of the class and I still don't know how this was done but, I was taken to the 6th grade class down the hall one day to see how I would do for a week and I never left. Following that, I went to what was considered a not-so-great junior high school: JHS 164 (aka Stitt Junior High). There I encountered Mr. Banks. But while I excelled in reading and science, I often wondered where my math teachers were. I don't recall much about those classes and sadly, I don't feel I performed up to my potential in mathematics. How could I have one awesome teacher in one or two subjects but mediocre ones in the rest?

I was lucky enough to have had passionate teachers and it made a world of a difference! Mr. Banks could've very easily allowed me to sit and play Karatika or Nerm the Worm in "Technology" class or not let me come in during lunch to dissect kidneys. Instead, he both saw something in me and took an interest in my learning, as did many of my teachers. Ms. Villanueva introduced me to performing and dance and made sure I got my scholarship to Harlem School of the Arts. They exposed me to things that would be so important for my future. Teachers that cared.

I hear a lot more than I'd like to admit about many educators that simply don't care and it saddens me. Why are our teachers stuck? I don’t think everyone is cut out to be a teacher and perhaps that’s the reason why we see such low teacher morale. Also, in other countries, it seems that being a teacher is an esteemed profession.  I feel that at times, we don’t treat our teachers with the regard that we should. But it’s also a two-way street.

If teachers are in this type of environment where they are empowered to both learn AND teach things would be different. I still feel that we have a lot of people going into this field to get a paycheck. I guess that will always happen but I feel it is imperative for us to hone in on those that have a gift for teaching. To hold on to them and make sure that we give them the tools that they need so that they can pass it on to our kids.  Somehow we need to instill respect for the profession again. I think that an environment like Success Academy is a great start.

This book is written by Eva Moskowitz, the founder of Success Academy Charter Schools and Arin Lavinia who designed and developed THINK Literacy.

Mission Possible tells the story of why this school had to come into existence, how they turn a school into a place where children WANT to be, who contributes and is benefited and more. The book brought a DVD that’s packed with interviews and snippets from the examples and stories told in the book. In it you see the teachers engaged and excited to be there. This environment certainly brings the best out of the teachers and vice versa. It was exciting to simply watch the engagement and discussion. I can’t imagine what it’s like to actually be there. It made me want to get up and teach!

I want everyone to read this book. Unlike Oprah, I can’t pass out my favorite things BUT I can pass out ONE of them to ONE of you. So, check out the giveaway below.

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions and giddiness about how the education system can really work for and provide a brighter future for our children are completely my own.