From: Cayata Dixon

Maggie Daley enjoys spot at head of class 

Visit boosts effort to recruit faculty

By Aamer Madhani
Tribune staff reporter

October 18, 2001

After reading to a kindergarten class from a children's book on Vincent van Gogh and 
inspecting their pastel drawings mimicking the Dutch painter's "Starry Night," Maggie 
Daley sat in the teacher's chair Wednesday morning and braced herself for the pupils' 

"You are married to the mayor?" a pigtailed 5-year-old girl asked.

"I'm guilty," she responded with a laugh.

And so went Daley's morning as a guest teacher at James W. Johnson School on the West 
Side. Daley was one of several well-known Chicagoans who are teaching in Chicago 
Public Schools classrooms as part of Teach for America Week. Actor and director Harold 
Ramis, of "Caddyshack" and "Animal House" fame, taught 5th graders Wednesday at 
Chalmers School on the West Side.

Others, including actress Joan Cusack, Tribune Publisher Scott Smith and Quaker Oats 
CEO Bob Morrison, are scheduled to teach classes later this week to help draw 
attention to Teach for America, a national program that draws top recent college 
graduates to teach in urban and rural schools. The graduates make a two-year 
commitment to teaching, and about 60 percent continue in the classroom. Most of those 
who leave end up serving impoverished communities in other fields.

In other parts of the country, Henry Kissinger, Arnold Schwarzenegger and high school 
teacher turned Pulitzer-winning novelist Frank McCourt are scheduled to teach in 
public school classrooms.

"These are terrific teachers, and they deserve our attention," Daley said of the Teach 
for America educators after her visit in the classroom.

The Teach for America program is in its second year in Chicago schools and its 12th 
year nationally. About 90 Teach for America educators work in Chicago.

The program draws 5,000 applications each year for about 1,000 teaching slots. Teach 
for America seeks highly motivated men and women who were not only among the best and 
the brightest at their colleges, but also the leaders, said Marion Hodges, executive 
director for Teach for America in Chicago.

"They are people who are looking to have immediate impact in their work," Hodges said.

On Wednesday morning, Daley got a taste of what the workday is like for Nicole Duguay, 
a 23-year-old from Buffalo in her second year teaching kindergarten at Johnson. After 
graduating from Miami University in Ohio with a degree in psychology, Duguay decided 
to try her hand as a teacher.

"Both of my parents are teachers, so I initially resisted going that route," Duguay 
said. "Then I decided that I wanted to see if I could cut it as a teacher."

When Daley began reading to the pupils, Duguay made eye contact with some of the 
restless children and motioned for them to fold their hands, sit still like statues 
and pay attention.

After Daley left, the pupils spent some time drawing at nearby tables while Duguay 
chatted with a visitor about her long-term career plans. She said she might want to 
leave teaching and pursue a career more related to her interest in psychology. For 
now, she seemed to believe she was doing something worthwhile.

"For at least a few more years, I'm going to stay a teacher," Duguay said. "I feel 
like I'm really doing something."

Copyright (c) 2001, Chicago Tribune

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