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By Peggy O’Brien

I am writing today—on Martin Luther King’s real birthday—because his presence in the world and in my life had so much to do with why I became a teacher, and because the words that he left with us continue to challenge and inspire so many of us.  We need that inspiration . . . perhaps especially right about now.

 

Even though I liked school and loved some of my teachers, when I was growing up, I had never thought about a life in teaching.  Not even for a minute.  In 1968, as a college junior in Washington, DC, however, I began to be educated by the Civil Rights Movement:  noticing who rode DC buses where, realizing who worked for whom, standing on the roof of my dorm watching parts of this city burn during the riots that erupted after Dr. King’s death.

Out of all of that came my conviction that to help people connect to the power of their own brains was probably the most important kind of social activism on earth.  (I have never stopped believing this.)   After graduation, I started teaching in a DC public high school.  And so it went. (more…)

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