(Ellie Haga is FLOC’s Executive Assistant and Development Associate.)
Teaching is the hardest job in the world. I know this because I used to be a teacher. Let me begin by saying that during that time, not once did I go home at 3 p.m., and not once did I have summers off. I spent long hours lesson planning, grading papers, meeting with parents, attending staff meetings, and “playing parent”. Not to mention, I spent much of my paycheck just making sure I had enough supplies for my students.
I taught 2nd grade in a Title I school where nearly 100 percent of our students qualified for free or reduced lunches. Before that, I taught 3rd grade in another Title I school. When I moved to Washington, D.C. with my husband to be closer to family, I knew I wanted to find a job in the field of education, but wasn’t ready to teach again. That’s what led me to FLOC.
From the moment I walked in the front door, I knew this was an amazing organization. The staff at FLOC works harder than most people I have ever known in my entire life. They are selfless, passionate, and energetic. They are teachers, mentors, and counselors. I am privileged to work in their shadow.
Each day I learn something new about the students we serve — how far behind some of them are, how few opportunities some of them have at their schools, how resilient they are, and how they strive toward a better future. My co-workers know how to use these qualities to ensure every child has a chance to improve their own lives, and inspire the students to strive toward improvement while training our nearly 300 tutors to do the same.
It’s no secret that the DC education system is in dire need of improvement. Students are falling through the cracks. The school day isn’t cutting it. But programs like FLOC are helping to fill in the gaps.
FLOC uses research, innovation, and unwavering dedication to provide high quality support. The tutoring programs are providing students with the tools they need to transform their future. I’m lucky to work here and see it all happen. Sometimes it’s overwhelming to think about how much work needs to be done, but if you’re in need of some inspiration, just come check out FLOC and see the difference our staff is making. I’m sure glad I did.