“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” ― W.B. Yeats
May 5, 2020
Happy Teacher Appreciation Day (Week)! As we celebrate this annual acknowledgment of the individuals in our society who have chosen as a profession one of the most important, challenging, and satisfying undertakings ever known, please allow me to say ‘Thank you’. Whether you teach Pre-K or AP Chemistry, being a great teacher is an important, challenging, and satisfying role.
The importance of our profession does not just rest solely on the academic outcomes and skill mastery that we are held accountable for. What is truly important is that our students may be profoundly impacted by not just our formal lessons, but by literally every word that comes out of our mouths on any single day. When we remember our teachers, we often remember the toughest ones…the most challenging. The importance of those tough (but fair) instructors was most likely not the lesson’s content but the overall expectations. We learned about our own personal capacity for excellence. We learned that grit and tenacity resided inside of us. This is not only important, but it is also life-changing!
The challenge of being a great teacher lies in the effort we put forward as we always yearn for the ‘perfect lesson’. The lesson that is differentiated, to engage all learners, with their variety of learning styles and outside interests. The lesson that is equitable and culturally competent, yet fun and captivating. The lesson that has rigor and common sense fair evaluations of its effectiveness. The challenge of that perfect lesson lies in the fact that its attainment only makes you strive to replicate it for the next 5 hours of the day!
The satisfaction that we experience when the perfect lesson is executed is euphoric! We see that our lesson plans, curriculum, and PLCs were not just adhered to as a mandate by our supervisors, but these tools truly link to how we TEACH! For neophyte teachers in our profession, this is satisfaction; for seasoned educators, we know that true unmatched satisfaction comes from our students when they return to us years later as fully formed human beings who actually remember ‘us’! Euphoria is knowing that ‘we’ contributed to this ‘person’. That is the true ‘Teacher Appreciation’ moment.
Please know that you are valued and appreciated by your Board of Education, Superintendent, School Leadership Team, Principals, and District Administration Team. We know, as research tells us, the most important variable linked to the success of a student is an excellent teacher. Our current distance learning circumstances are no different, and our students need you more than ever.
Though it may be challenging, continue to push forward, because we understand that the work we do is even more important during these times. Wishing you and your families well, be safe! Onward and upward…
Dr. Ronald G. Taylor,
Superintendent of Schools