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Teaching Confidence

American writer and mythologist Joseph Campbell once said that “the job of an educator is to teach students to see the vitality in themselves.” When StoryCorps Door-to-Door traveled to our nation’s capital as part of StoryCorps’ National Teacher’s Initiative, we met those very educators, the the men and women who dedicate themselves to the teaching profession and the positive impact they make on our education system. We partnered with District of Columbia Public Schools, who invited a few of its public school teachers and students to record stories of how their passion and creativity inspire young people to learn and grow in the classroom. Lisa Jones was one of those teachers.

D.C. Public school teacher Lisa Jones and her student, Louis Wingfield, III



Lisa arrived at StoryCorps with one of her former 4th-grade students, Louis Wingfield, III. Louis began the conversation describing what he was like before entering Lisa’s class. “I would describe myself as shy,” he said. “I was just waiting for a teacher that was really good. I was waiting for a chance to express myself as the real me.”

As it turned out, Lisa was the teacher Louis had been waiting for. When Lisa discovered that Louis had an uncanny ability to dance like Michael Jackson, she hinted that he should perform his moves at the school-wide assembly. “There were a lot of kids sitting there,” Louis remembered. “I got up on the stage and I looked, and I thought ‘This isn’t that bad.’ You told me ‘Don’t be nervous or afraid because you are doing what you like and you do it well.’”

Because of Lisa’s guiding hand, Louis is now a rising 6th grader with aspirations in law or medicine. He is no longer reticent to share himself with those around him. Through our National Teacher’s Initiative, StoryCorps hopes to record more stories like the one shared by Louis and Lisa and the positive effect teachers have on their students throughout the country.

Check our website this Fall for information about the official launch of the National Teacher’s Initiative.


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2 Responses to “Teaching Confidence”

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  • It’s always encouraging to see a young person become strong and innovative. Prayerfully, this type of attitude and interest puts Louis in a standard belief of leadership as our world needs young men such as himself. Obviously, the National Teacher’s Innitiative is having a positive outcome on Louis and hopefully many other students. I know Louis to be a shy guy, but he has a big personality when you get down to it, with a high level of spirit. Congrats to Louis and the educator’s!

    Comment from Medstar VNA Team of Professionals on October 6, 2011 at 10:34 am - Reply to this Comment
  • Good morning. This is a wonderful article and I am in no way surprised about this as Louis is a bright youngman who I am certain has a bright future. I am thnakful to those who have inspired him and I find it extremely important that our educators be oh, so ready to tackle the weaknesses and build on them in all of our children. Louis will certainly bring his family into greatness, especially with the help of his teachers. To Louis and the educators, keep up the good work.

    Comment from Phyllis Norville on October 6, 2011 at 10:22 am - Reply to this Comment

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