“Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.” ~ John F. Kennedy
Recently, public education has been under sustained attack and it is unfortunate that teachers — the developers of ability — have taken the brunt of the abuse. In my opinion, the manner in which our public educators have been vilified is both incomprehensible and reprehensible. Admittedly, there are significant concerns with how our educational system operates, and yes, as with any profession, there are teachers, administrators, and support staff who do not belong. That being said, it is a rare occasion in which I encounter a teacher who does not have a love and concern for students at the heart of their actions.
As an educator, I have drawn inspiration from my Grandmother, a lifelong teacher, who, after a lengthy career as an elementary school instructor, opened a pre-school and continued serving children in her small community well beyond the average retirement age. To those who watched her teach, and those who were her students, it was apparent that she did so because she drew pleasure from watching her students make new discoveries and took great satisfaction in giving them opportunities to explore and pursue their interests. She loved working with kids, and it showed. I am very proud of the positive impact my Grandmother had on others — the generations of children for whom she inspired a love of learning. My Grandmother was a phenomenal educator.
It is honestly my belief that the majority of teachers are not unlike my Grandmother. They teach because they possess a true concern for children and they are passionate about their profession. It is unfortunate that those who fail to recognize the tremendous work that a majority of teachers do (some, under less than optimal conditions) are also given the largest pulpit and loudest microphone for voicing their displeasure. This week, Teacher Appreciation Week, is an opportunity for those of us who have benefited from the hard work of a teacher, and those who support the efforts of our classroom educators to voice their accolades, and at least momentarily, drown out the grumbling of the cynics.
To classroom teachers across the globe, your work is truly world-changing and your efforts appreciated beyond words. Thank you!