American Icon: Our Teachers


At American Sunglass, we regularly celebrate icons. But what exactly is an icon?

We believe it’s someone who not only achieves great things, but inspires others to do the same. Perhaps no profession has the ability to do both more than teachers.

And over the next two weeks, parents will entrust their children to teachers across the country as the start of the school year gets underway.

Some educators will do only what is asked of them. But others will go above and beyond. And they will be the ones who will make a difference in their students’ lives.

Albert Einstein, arguably the most famous scientist of all time, was once a teacher. Before that, he was a student where his teachers, from elementary school to college, never thought he would amount to anything.

Though he excelled in school, he was often bored of the importance placed on memorization. When he became an educator at the California Institute of Technology and later the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, he used his experiences to shape his own teaching philosophy.

“I never teach my pupils,” he once said. “I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”

There may be no teacher who showed just how much can be accomplished in a classroom than Jaime Escalante. He is the subject of the book Best Teacher in America and the film “Stand and Deliver,” becoming famous for his unorthodox teaching methods which were both tough and passionate. 

The approach worked, even as he taught some of the poorest students in the city of Los Angeles.

The Bolivian-born Escalante didn’t come to America until he was in his mid-30s. That’s when he had to learn an entirely new language, becoming fluent enough to not only earn a degree in mathematics, but to receive his teaching certification.  

Despite that personal achievement, Escalante never became complacent – and he never expected complacency from his students. He pushed them, every day. And they ultimately met that challenge despite their socioeconomic status.

In 1988, Escalante was honored for his work when he was awarded the Presidential Medal for Excellence.

It was recognition for his commitment to the craft of teaching. Sadly, over the next ten months, thousands of teachers will display the same work ethic with little to any fanfare.

But they will have made a difference. Maybe it will be with one kid. Or twenty kids. No matter how many they reach, we salute them. They are epitomizing what it takes to #BeAnIcon. 

Who knows, the next Albert Einstein or Jaime Escalante may be sitting in their class. And they will have the opportunity to inspire them to reach great heights.

Because we believe teaching is not only a noble profession, but a cool one, we’re offering educators a 20 percent discount on two of our coolest brands of sunglasses – Costa Del Mar and Marc Jacobs – through the end of September. Just use the code TCH15 when checking out.

Words of an Icon: "One of the greatest things you have in life is that no one has the authority to tell you what you want to be. You’re the one who’ll decide what you want to be.” – Jaime Escalante