http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXjAh310bH8 Justin Lawson doesn't want to offend the other Teaching Fellows, but he does think he has an advantage some of them don't have.
"I’m from the area. I see myself in the the kids I'm working with, using the same lingo. It’s just a great opportunity to give back to the community that I grew up in. I feel like they believe me a little bit more."
He draws on his psychology and communication studies from the University of Hartford in the classrooms where he serves in Boston's Irving Middle School.
"They have to believe that you believe in them to succeed. Build a relationship with your students. And it might not seem like it will happen this year, but later on they’re going to remember you and the opportunities that you gave them."
He keeps that long view even as the daily challenge of inspiring students can be intense. "As the students are learning, I’m learning at the same time. It’s not like a one-way street, with me having to just teach and them to grow. It’s for both of us."
Teach, serve, and grow with Justin for the next two years–you’ll make a lifetime of difference.