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Carl Schneider is an Elementary school teacher at Whitney Achievement Elementary school in Memphis, Tennessee, who is going above and beyond his job description to make a difference in the lives of the children in his school. Carl is part of a group of five teachers who volunteer to walk children home from school each day. The program includes about 200 kids that live as far as a quarter of a mile away from school. Carl and the other teachers started volunteering to walk the kids home because they felt it was unsafe for the kids to walk these long distances alone. However, soon they discovered that it was not just the kids who benefited from the program, which presented a unique opportunity to the teachers to bond with the students who they may or may not otherwise come in contact during a school day.
Carl Schneider has been involved with the program for three years now and “looks forward to [these walks] every day”.
When asked what inspired him to become a teacher, Carl said that he had moved to Memphis to teach in order to help address education inequity that exists throughout America and especially in the South. Memphis has the lowest opportunity for social and economic mobility in the nation, so quality education is especially important here. After meeting my students, they are where I gain my inspiration! The students at Whitney Achievement Elementary School are the most passionate, tenacious, hilarious, and strong people in the world. They are a constant reminder of why building equity is so important because they deserve every opportunity that their affluent counterparts receive.
Carl says, “The most rewarding part of walking our students home each day is getting to spend time with them. On the walk home- we talk about all kinds of things! From their behavior at school, to what they learn each day, to their aspirations and weekend plans. We get to build meaningful relationships on the walk home and we can then leverage these relationships to ensure students are maximizing their learning at Whitney.”
Carl wants to use any financial reward that he would receive to help his students address some of their basic needs. He says that “some students don’t have enough food at home or quality jackets to keep them warm” and he would love to help students with these. He would also love to help some of his outstanding scholars have access to Halloween costumes or presents around the Holidays, thereby inspiring others to do well in school.