One day during class, Mr. Mills told his students, “The expert at anything was once a beginner, so you need to just start.” Today, one of those students, Lisa Brooks, is well on her way to becoming an expert in her field. Lisa now works at Educational Testing Service and uses her teacher’s advice to continually look for opportunities to learn and grow in her career. But Lisa, like all other students and beginners, wouldn’t have met success without her teacher’s support and guidance at the outset.
As part of National Teacher Appreciation Week, ETS brought some of its employees together to talk about how teachers shaped their lives and highlight the often over-looked work teachers take on every day. We recognize the doors of opportunity that teachers open for students. Teachers see potential in students when they might not see it themselves. They encourage, challenge, and inspire the next generation of leaders.
Everyone that participated could remember defining moments when teachers took simple, but profound, actions that fundamentally changed the way they approached learning and their lives. Research Manager Rebecca Baerga recalled the teacher who gave her the confidence to pursue a career in molecular biology and eventually earn her PhD. Lydia Liu, who now serves as the director of higher education research at ETS, described the support she needed to run for a leadership position that one of her instructors encouraged her to pursue.
Other ETS employees remember the teachers who did more than just teach – they provided life lessons. Research Director Andreas Oranje’s grade school teacher didn’t just teach Greek, but also how to be a good person. Before assessment specialist Pablo Garcia-Gomez worked at ETS, he spent time as a teacher. He recalls the qualities his teachers had that inspired him the most. He said he adopted some of those same qualities in the classroom, knowing that they could have the same positive impact on his students.
Instructors like these remind us that our teachers might not always realize the impact they have on their students and why it is so important that we say “thank you” to them. As a team of education leaders, researchers and assessment developers, ETS understands the needs of teachers and supports them as they impart important skills both in and outside of the classroom. This week especially, ETS thanks teachers across the country for being our students’ biggest advocates and for going above and beyond.