by Curtis Weathers
Somehow the notion of Teacher Appreciation Week seems woefully inadequate for celebrating the work our teachers and educators perform daily.
Maybe we should extend the celebration to an entire month!
One could argue that teachers are one of the two most important groups of people on the planet; that other group would be parents.
As a teacher, you are afforded the opportunity to influence the world’s greatest resource — our youth.
The profound impact of a teacher on their students cannot be overstated. They are indeed jewels of our society.
I have rich and lasting memories of my teachers from grade school through high school and beyond, who left lasting impressions on me that have positively impacted my entire life.
In grade school, my first, second, third, and fifth-grade teachers were good teachers, but I can remember little about my experiences in their classrooms.
But my fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Harris, was exceptional. She made learning fun and impacted my life in an incredibly positive way.
I am one that believes that teachers and teaching is not just a career or a job but a spiritual calling, a unique privilege granted by God.
Memphis Shelby County Schools held its inaugural Excellence in Education Gala during National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 2-6). Dr. Melissa Collins, who was named MSCS Teacher of the Year, asked all teachers to stand, declaring them all winners. (Screen capture)
Teachers not only teach and impart knowledge, but they also inspire and motivate students for life.
Teaching is hard, and yes, just like other professions, it comes with a unique set of challenges. Yet, we sometimes take for granted the role teachers play in the growth and development of our children.
Teachers are multitalented, they play the role of parent, disciplinarian, counselor, and motivator every single day they are with our children.
It is amazing how much trust we place in the hands of people who are all but strangers to us at the beginning of a school year. And yet we faithfully believe they will treat our children with respect, teach them effectively and care for them as if they are their own.
The teaching profession has taken some significant body blows in recent years. The pandemic has clearly made the job one of the most challenging on the planet, especially in urban communities where resources are already scarce.
As a result, teachers’ stress and anxiety levels have soared, their morale has plummeted, job satisfaction is at historic lows, and teachers are leaving the profession in record numbers.
I get a chance to interact with teachers daily. Many of them still possess a genuine love for their profession and the children they work with each day.
Unfortunately, many of them feel unappreciated and unsupported and must deal with too many behavioral problems, not to mention the stress of standardized testing.
And now, with the intrusion of all the social justice issues, the politics of society seems to have taken a front-row seat in their classrooms, i.e., critical race theory, etc.
Teachers who remain in the profession and those who aspire to join the ranks recognize and appreciate their opportunities to make a difference in children’s lives and society.
They enjoy the professional collaboration with other like-minded teachers, the job benefits, the opportunities for growth, and the lasting relationships they form with colleagues, students, and parents.
While the last two years have been years of survival and triage for teachers, many feel next year will be much better. Schools will be able to focus more fully on recovery, and our dedicated teachers can take the lead in our journey back to normalcy.
So, to all the teachers out there, God Bless You!
We recognize and appreciate your dedication and love for the profession. We appreciate the daily sacrifices you make to ensure our children learn and grow.
Ignore all the negativity out there. You have done an excellent job, especially during these COVID years. We love and appreciate you.
(Follow TSD education columnist Curtis Weathers on Twitter (@curtisweathers); email: firstname.lastname@example.org.)