This year, honoring educators during Teacher Appreciation Month is more important than ever. And for E4E-Chicago members Jalayne Brewton and Katie Owens, the month-long celebration has already included quite the surprise: an unexpected call from former President Barack Obama!
President Obama reached out to three Chicago Public Schools teachers, two of whom are E4E-Chicago members, to thank them for their work and chat about how distance learning is going. Owens, a second grade teacher at Joseph Kellman Elementary School in Lawndale, insists that the honor could have gone to any of her CPS colleagues.
During the call, President Obama told Owens that “great teachers, in a lot of ways, put as big of an imprint on their kids as anybody.”
“We just dearly miss having our kids in front of us,” she told President Obama.
Brewton, a middle school teacher at Parkside Academy, was concerned that her students wouldn’t have access to technology for online learning. So, she volunteered to go to her school and distribute nearly 150 laptops to families. “I don’t mind being on the front lines for the kids, because this is what I’m really passionate about doing,” Brewton said.
Owens has also been incredibly dedicated to connecting with her 2nd grade students while schools are closed, and regularly sees her entire class log on to participate in online classes. She says all the credit goes to students’ families for helping them connect and engage in learning.
During their next virtual meetings with students, both Brewton and Owens will definitely have some exciting news to share.
“When I go on Google Classroom and tell the kids that I talked to President Obama, they’re going to be so happy!” Owens said.