This summer, the KIPP NYC 2016-17 cohort of Empire Teaching Fellows started on the path to become great teachers. Dave Levin, co-founder of KIPP, spoke with the Fellows as they embarked on this journey, and we think his words of wisdom ring true whether you are entering your first or your twenty-first year in the classroom. We might even tape these to our desk as poignant reminders on the early mornings ahead.


For all the things you need to practice – classroom management, lesson planning, academic feedback – don’t forget there are real children in front of you and you should not need to practice love.

In the moments ahead you will be struck deeply by the challenge of how to make the world more just and how to ensure your kids, who are dependent on you every day, are prepared for the world. To lead it, to change it, to thrive and to make sure that their own kids have all the opportunities they deserve. That’s not an easy task, but don’t ever quit. No matter how hard it gets.

The thing that always keeps me going is that I have choices that our kids don’t yet have. And so the reason I took this job is to make sure they had all the choices that they deserve. Choice-filled lives. So whenever I get frustrated with the job or say there would be easier jobs, I remember that this choice is a luxury that our students don’t yet have.