I smell bad. No, I retract that statement; I smell foul. A distinct odor radiates from my clothes — a mixture of Play-Doh, feet, paint, and institutional cleaner.
Any teacher or parent knows exactly the smell I am describing: the one that begins to settle into a room after dozens of little people have occupied it for more than an hour. I smell like children.
Up until a short time ago, I never even knew children had a smell (this might have something to do with the fact that, up until a short time ago, I was a child myself. Maybe I still am one. I haven’t really decided yet).
Then, in October, I got an email that changed the entire course of my Stanford career. “EAST PALO ALTO KIDS NEED YOU,” the subject line read. The email was sent on behalf of Jumpstart — a national organization that pairs college students with preschoolers in low-income areas to help teach them the skills they will need to succeed in elementary school...