He was a journalist covering education. What he saw made him switch professions : NPR

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Cameron Fields is making the jump in hopes that he can continue to make an impact in the classroom.

Cameron Fields

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Cameron Fields

After covering education as an outsider, one journalist was inspired to make a difference from within.

Who is he? Cameron Fields was a reporter based in Cleveland, originally focused on sports writing before transitioning into community journalism. This eventually led him to work on a project called The Cleveland Promise.

  • The project focused on telling the stories of young students, including their struggles, triumphs, and everything in between.
  • Fields was stationed at Almira Elementary School on Cleveland’s west side, along with reporting partner Hannah Drown. It was there among the students and the community that he realized that education was the next step he wanted to take in his career.
  • “That was when I started thinking about it, just because I loved coming to school every day, and helping students with their work, helping them with any problem they had, with anything they had in mind. And that made me feel that it’s been really fulfilling and rewarding work for me,” Fields told NPR.

What’s the big deal? Apart from those students who get a new dedicated and qualified teacher?

Want more education journalism? listen to the Consider This episode on how the class of 2023 survived high school in a pandemic.

The pandemic has had an incredible impact on learning and teachers.

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What is he saying? Fields spoke with NPR’s Juana Summers about making the change.

About the ethos behind Cleveland’s Promise:

The aim was to show the different challenges [within] the Metropolitan School District, [focusing on] Cleveland school, and teachers and staff and student experiences, because Cleveland is one of the poorest big cities in the nation.

There are many different challenges that people in Cleveland, and the city of Cleveland experience when it comes to finances [difficulties]in relation to social challenges as well, and different emotional challenges.

And what I think I was able to help, was to show the commitment to social emotional learning, within Cleveland schools. And I think that was one of the main principles that Cleveland’s Promise showed was that teachers and staff were doing their best to help students, not only academically, but also develop socially and emotionally as well.

When you make the change:

It was definitely tough. I was thinking about it. And I was like, journalism is the only thing I know, and that’s what my degree is in.

The writing was challenging for me, and the reporting, it was mentally challenging. So I was ready for something different, I was ready for a change, and I wanted to get into something where I felt like I could really continue to do great work.

About working with children:

So they were awesome to be around, awesome to work with, and really, really resilient kids.

Many of the students there may not have the highest self-image, or self-esteem. And that’s why I want to be in education and be in this job, because students need someone who will believe in them, students need someone who will help them and nurture them.

So, what now?

  • Fields joined Teach for America, and will be training with them this summer to build his teaching skills.
  • Some lucky students will call Fields their teacher soon.

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