Entrepreneurs, amplified by the media, often talk about the immense challenge of starting and growing an organization. We hear that the work is difficult and all-consuming, emotionally draining, isolating, and often economically difficult, especially in the beginning. These challenges are indeed real, and as an entrepreneur I have felt each of these and more. Yet what I feel much more often is immense gratitude. It is a privilege to work closely with a small and passionate team, to address important challenges, and to serve our nation’s educators who do heroic work each and every day in conditions that can make the work of an entrepreneur look like a walk in the park. And so the approach of Thanksgiving presents a terrific opportunity for me, on behalf of my colleagues at Ellevation, to enumerate some of what we are thankful for.
We are thankful for our nation’s educators, in particular those that serve English Language Learners in school systems from Maine to Alaska and everywhere in between. Over 50% of US teachers have at least one English Learner in their classrooms, a significant increase in the last generation. These are students with immense promise, indeed so much of our nation’s fabric has been woven by citizens who did not speak English as their first language. And these students present unique challenges. ESL and Bilingual educators work each day to connect with students that may be too timid to speak, or who are scarred by the difficulties in their home countries that drove their families to emigrate, or who are in need of a wide range of resources and interventions as they develop English language proficiency. These educators are smart, caring, and patient, and work to ensure all children have a chance at success in school and beyond.