Ralph’s Reflections: May 2023


Teacher Appreciation

Dear Breakthrough Staff,

Although I am not a teacher, the life of a teacher is quite familiar to me; my mother was an educator for 40 years, and my wife has been an educator for 20 years. I’ve watched them selflessly pour into their students with two motivations: success and well-being. I'm privileged to witness this same kind of care happening each day at Breakthrough, and last week in observance of National Teacher Appreciation Week, I was grateful for the opportunity to recognize our teachers alongside several of our board members.


During my weekly visit to our schools, I observe the interaction between our scholars and teachers. Our educators have an inspiring way of nudging our scholars when they are not as motivated, redirecting them when distracted, and demonstrating compassion when they are having a tough time. Whatever our teachers are experiencing personally, they still show up for our scholars all the time and make all the difference for them.

In February, I launched the CEO Teacher Advisory Committee. This group is comprised of 20 teachers from across all of our schools. We gather monthly so that I can hear their perspective directly. During one of our recent meetings, we discussed the school calendar, and I got the opportunity to speak with one of our teachers offline. The teacher expressed genuine concern and asked clarifying questions regarding how the new calendar might impact a small group of our scholars after school. The conversation sticks out to me as an example of selfless commitment. Our teachers advocate for and consistently show up for our scholars inside and outside the classroom.


Most people don’t stop to realize the behind-the-scenes effort that goes into being a great teacher. I watched my mother grade papers at our kitchen table, and my wife often prepares lesson plans on evenings and weekends; our Breakthrough teachers put forward that same commitment for our scholars. This unwavering commitment is why everyone remembers a great teacher from their childhood. Teaching is the only profession in the world that allows you to be immortal because your influence lives on forever.

Breakthrough’s teachers consistently inspire me. They truly are the cornerstone of our network. They are role models to our scholars; they offer guidance and dedication. Next time you recognize a Breakthrough scholar who has accomplished something great - because you will - take a moment to think of and be thankful for our teachers.