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Editorial & Opinion

Kobi Dennis: An open letter from a proud product of Providence Schools

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Dear Christine,

I hope retirement is what was promised. I’ll bet when you decided to dedicate your life to teaching along with thousands of others, you had no idea that years later you and your colleagues would be questioned and ridiculed about your dedication and commitment to the very reason you signed on to teach – the kids!

I feel privileged to have learned the standards of the teaching profession through the eyes of a true champion for “equity and equality” for all students, long before they became buzz words for educational grant purposes.

Those same eyes that had the ability to discipline by looking over the rim of your prescription glasses. Those same eyes that worried about the importance of good deeds and cultural relevance on a daily basis. Those same teaching eyes that never saw the problem, only the solution in the most complex and unruly student.

You had the innate ability to show compassion and concern at the most conflicting times – from violence in our communities, teacher strikes, union disputes or student/family issues. You remained steadfast and your “teacher eyes” never expressed any pain or doubt.


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I’ll never forget collecting class assignments from 1st graders as your proud teacher assistant. Year after year the profession of teacher was #1 on our “What would you like to be when you grow up” career list for 1st graders, followed closely by firefighter and police officer. Teachers today are faced with the insurmountable task of being the parent, confidant, caregiver and security guard. The thought of the pressures of everyday instruction leaves me spellbound.

My mother, sister, cousins and friends are proud products of Providence schools and so am I. We were all taught under the care of teachers like Christine Mathieu and her “teacher eyes”.

I respect the dedicated and committed teachers of yesterday and today. May the current administration also see your worth.

Kobi J. Dennis