Carrie Gelson is one of those schoolteachers they make movies about. I guess we don’t really need any more titles like Dangerous Minds or To Sir with Love or Stand and Deliver or Freedom Writers or Summer School – stop me now, I’m begging you – but, truly, Ms. Gelson shines.
Many of her inner-city East Vancouver pupils live in poverty, without proper socks and shoes on their feet or breakfast in their bellies. Just to try to meet their basic needs, Ms. Gelson keeps a desk drawer full of cracker boxes in the classroom, and stays on the hunt for secondhand footwear that might fit the kids.
Last week, in a flash moment of frustration, Ms. Gelson wrote an open letter about the dire needs of her grade-two students. It was meant only for her friends. But then it went online, and quickly viral.
And a good thing, too. This week, Ms. Gelson has gone from frustrated to floored – by the generosity of the folks in her community, and beyond. Cash donations have been pouring into the school, along with socks, boots and jackets. And, of course, lots and lots of cracker boxes. The story made national news.
We appoint teachers to make a difference for our children. This one is doing it in spades.