E4E Teachers Talk Back: Kelly Roche
Kelly Roche teaches high school in the Bronx. Kelly shares how inspiring it is to see her students mature and what it means to her to be a part of E4E.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
My teachers growing up had a huge impact on who I am as a person. The prospect of being able to impact someone in the same way that my teachers impacted me is really powerful.
What keeps you going when the teaching gets tough?
The small victories in the classroom keep me going. Being able to see a change in students for the better, sometimes in the most unexpected ways, is truly motivating. It’s not always the academic growth that matters - seeing them grow into adults is where I see the real impact. I used to teach 6th grade and moving to high school has been fun because I get to see them take the next step in their life.
What is your relationship like with your students?
My school is a very challenging environment. Our school has been labeled a failing school, and so often these kids are told they’re not worth as much. Seeing my students persevere despite what’s been thrown at them has kept things positive, though.
One of my students has a lot of emotional problems, and I had had a lot of negative interactions with him in the past. Seeing him mature over this past year has really made the year for me. He’s had a lot thrown at him and he’s still a challenge, but because of the relationship I have with him, he has committed to finishing his education. Despite having some very significant behavior issues, he was so dedicated and passed his graduation requirements. He had been one of the toughest kids, and now he’s grown into my favorite student.
Why did you become a part of E4E?
There are so many challenges and so much negativity in teaching. I’ve found that to E4E is not only a positive environment, but it’s also an environment where I feel like we’re actually making positive changes for our students. This is a place where we can really advocate for students outside the classroom.