"One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child." - Carl Jung
This week, May 5-9, is teacher appreciation week. Each year the first full week of May is set aside to recognize and show appreciation for the dedication and hard work of the teachers who serve the children and families in this community. As Carl Jung states above, we appreciate the good teachers we, and our children, had, but we are especially grateful to those teachers who are able to convey the curriculum with a warmth and caring that makes that teacher memorable.
I challenge each of you to think, during this week, about one or more teachers that stand out in your memory. Each of us can think of a teacher that made a real difference and a significant impression on our lives. In my mind there were two that stand out particularly; a high school history teacher who gave me the first encouragement that education might be in my future and, the real champion, my 5th grade teacher Miss Hume. Miss Hume had been my mother’s 5th grade teacher as well as mine. She conveyed the lessons along with what I now recognize were many life lessons. She was able to harness what was a surplus of energy, on my part, into a positive direction with the warmth Dr. Jung refers to so well, so that I really believed my desk was placed next to hers because I was her favorite and she needed my help! My mother later explained the real reason.
But the point is that almost all of you can point to a teacher that made that kind of difference in your life; that set your path for the future in some way, and this week is the time to remember them. But it is also, more importantly, the time to recognize and thank the teachers that each and every day are making the same kind of impact on your children’s lives that teachers made in your life.
Educational research clearly shows that the most important factor in the success of a student in school is the quality of the teachers. In our district we are fortunate that the vast majority of our teachers fall into the category of highly qualified teachers who do, and will, make a difference in the lives of our children. This is no mean feat given the challenges teachers face each day. Donald Quinn put it into perspective when he said, “If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 30 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn’t want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher’s job.”
As we thank the teachers for the difference they make, I also want to thank the support staff. Through their efforts as cooks, custodians, paraprofessionals, secretaries, or bus drivers, all contribute toward the common goal of educating our children. The teamwork displayed by all of us, working with parents in this effort, supports the notion that it takes a village to raise a child. Dr. Haim Ginott said, “Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at times they accomplish this impossible task.”
Thank you teachers and staff for all you do.