(Teacher Tuesday is a weekly feature in which I recognize someone who contributed to my education as a writer and human being.)
I’ve written about teachers from my school days, and teachers from my bookshelf; I’m also blessed to have some wonderful teachers in my family. This post is for my brother, Mr. Vincent Scotto, 5th grade teacher extraordinaire. He’s not one to brag, so I’ll just have to do it for him.
I have no idea where my brother finds the time to do all that he does in his school and community. When he’s not working feverishly to find new ways to bring his math and science lessons to life, he’s helping to set the tone at his school as lead teacher for his grade. He’s serving on committees such as Kids at Hope; he’s out helping to run his county’s yearly Family Reading Festival. He is, in short, a dedicated difference-maker. I admire the heck out of him.
Mr. Scotto strives to be the most engaging teacher possible because he knows firsthand the value of having that one great teacher in your life. He also knows exactly how hard school can be if you don’t have that one. How your grades suffer, how your motivation to learn suffers, how you draw into yourself until you’re in attendance, but not present. How eventually, you end up in the guidance counselor’s office and she’s advising you not to waste your time thinking about college — to consider becoming a mechanic instead.
How glad I am that my brother is stubborn, and that he did not follow his guidance counselor’s advice. He’d have been a great mechanic, I’m sure, but there are a whole lot of kids in Florida whose lives would have been just a bit dimmer for it.
This year, Mr. Scotto was selected as Teacher of the Year at his school. From Kid-At-Risk to Teacher of the Year — I couldn’t have invented a better arc. Brother, I salute you. Keep climbing!