There are a few educators whom I would love to meet. John Dewey, Madeline Hunter, Maria Montessori, Albert Einstein, and Confucius would be a good start. There is one more name that I would like to add to this list: Jaime Escalante.
Mr. Escalante may not make the list above as one of the most influential teachers of all time, but he is at the top of my list of teachers with whom I would love to sit and talk shop.
If you have not seen the film “Stand and Deliver” go rent it now. If you saw it a while ago but you do not remember much, go rent it now. This is a terrific story of one man’s struggle to raise high school students up and out of the barrios of East Los Angeles. Sure, the film is a product of Hollywood, but Escalante described the film as “90% truth, 10% drama”. It is a realistic interpretation of his story.
Escalante was a math teacher, who, against huge odds, successfully taught Calculus to students with very limited math instruction. Over the years, Escalante’s students scored incredibly well on the AP Calculus test.
Jaime Escalante died yesterday at the age of 79. RIP Mr. Escalante. You have left your mark on the world.