Lorilee Cabrera is a Heinemann Fellow with the 2014–2016 class, and has been an educator for 15 years. In today's post, Lorilee discusses her luck as it intersects with hard work, good timing, and education.
by Lorilee Cabrera
When I reflect on my personal and professional lives, I can say I am very lucky.
I was lucky to have an intact, loving family while growing up as part of the population of Latinos moving between their native land and the U.S. in search of the American Dream.
I am lucky to be a first-generation high school and college graduate.
I was lucky not only to learn a second language but also to devote a decade of my life supporting students learning English in the same schools I did.
I am lucky to call Springfield, Massachusetts, my home. It is a culturally, socially, and economically diverse community. It is where I work and where my partner and I are raising our daughter.
And most recently, I am lucky to have been chosen to voice the story of the amazing professionals I support as a literacy coach in my district.
I have a secret, though. All of this “luck” isn’t just luck.
My luck exists at the intersection of hard work (mine and that of those around me), good timing, and education. Every important decision I have made has been influenced by the words and actions of educators and my amazing parents. Statistics don’t paint a bright picture for Latinas: dropout and teen pregnancy rates are high. However, the educators in my life helped me prove statistics wrong.
I have a secret, though. All of this "luck" isn't just luck
As educators, we have the responsibility to inspire students to dream bigger, beyond their current reality. My mission is to help the teachers I work with have the same effect on their students as the adults in my life had on me. When I plan with teachers, talk with them about the decisions they need to make, it’s because that’s what people did for me: asked me questions, valued my ideas, and challenged me to grow. My job isn’t to tell educators what to do. I provide choices for them, open my practice so they can learn from it and adapt it to their students’ needs.
As a Heinemann Fellow, I will take a close look at my role as an agent of change. As I work with teachers on ways they can support their students’ learning, I’ll be gathering and analyzing data about my coaching actions to determine which are most effective in creating real change in classrooms. I want to bring the kind of “luck” I benefited from to the teachers and kids I work with today, so that together we can start to better those statistics.
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Lorilee Cabrera is a Cornerstone Literacy Coach in Springfield, Massachusetts. Her action research focuses on effective coaching to promote and sustain practices and resources.
Please visit the Heinemann Fellows page to learn more.