Lindsey Pearlstein has been on a mission to become an educator for as long as she can remember. Her focus has always been to help those who need her the most. She was a force to be reckoned with when she served as the director of the tutoring program for the student-driven non-profit, Brookline Literacy Partnership (BLP). Pearlstein helped students from the Mather School in Dorchester for the organization, utilizing her unique blend of talent, empathy, and confidence.
Pearlstein graduated from the University of Texas at Austin this year. She enrolled at the school because as she puts it, “UT Austin has the number one public college for education in the country.”
This fall, all her years of training and dreaming will pay off as Pearlstein begins her career as a teacher in a Title One school in Texas. She chose to teach at a Title One school because she wants to help level the playing field for all students, regardless of their income level.
Ben Hoff, the 2013 Brookline Youth of the Year, described Pearlstein’s passion and predicted her future in the 2013 Youth Award nomination he submitted for her.
“Unlike most high school students, Lindsey knows what she wants to do ten years from now, she wants to teach in a school with underprivileged youth,” Hoff said. “Lindsey always puts her heart into her work. Both her accomplishments and her dreams are worthy of recognition. Lindsey is incredibly determined and absolutely indefatigable once she gets an idea in her head.”
As Hoff described, Pearlstein hasn’t changed much in the last four years. Her determination to reach her goal and help others has not wavered.
Last summer, Pearlstein received her TESOL certification in Thailand so she could practice teaching non-English speaking students and to give her the ability to teach English anywhere in the world. In July, she began training to work with refugees and students with interrupted formal schooling.
The challenges facing Pearlstein and her students this year are enormous.
“The state of Texas does not supply its teachers with any funding going into the school year, so all teachers, but especially first-year teachers spend quite a bit of their own money in their classroom,” she said.
Pearlstein hasn’t wasted any time on the fundraising necessary to give her new students the tools they need to succeed. She started an Amazon wish list.
“This wish list is filled with rich, thought-provoking books that represent my diverse future students,” she said. “When someone purchases a book on the wish list and adds it to their cart, it can ship directly to my classroom through Amazon. Once a book is bought, it’s automatically removed from my list, so there are no duplicates.”
“Additionally, last year in my student teaching, I noticed how many of my students had a difficult time staying focused while sitting at a desk every day,” she continued. “I have created a Donors Choose Page to fund flexible seating, allowing students to move or sit elsewhere while still maintaining focus. These books and flexible seating is something Brookline Public Schools purchases for its students, but Texas isn’t quite there yet.”
Pearlstein has no intention of letting the challenges confronting her and her students get in her way.
“This is my passion, and I am elated that after so many years of training and tutoring, I finally get to teach,” she said.
This coming school year and for many, many school years to follow, there will be a lot of students who will be very thankful to have Lindsey Pearlstein for a teacher.