The first full week in May is National Teacher Appreciation Week, with Tuesday, May 8 designated as National Teacher Day. A one day – even a weeklong– tribute hardly seems adequate to fully recognize the work of our teachers and the extent that their efforts spread far beyond the boundaries of the classroom. As retired educators, the members of Western Zone of the New York State Retired Teachers’ Association deem it our pleasure and obligation to lead in this proclamation of appreciation in honor of our active teachers.
Teachers teach students the skills and subject matter to fulfill all of the other positions in life. But, in their normal conduct as educators, teachers themselves show their proficiency in numerous areas. Teachers excel as: Prophets, anticipating needs and laying down the foundation for the future. Artists, molding the clay of developing personality. Friends, supporting, encouraging, reassuring and correcting. Citizens, advancing the knowledge of our history and government. Builders, working toward the development of higher values and better lives. Culture bearers, recognizing the differences in students while developing positive attitudes and more civil treatment for all. Planners, projecting and implementing ways for students to fit into that great system called “life.” Reformers, removing the handicaps that weaken lives and stymie progress. Believers, striving to instill the desire, confidence and ability to succeed in all students.
Much has been written about testing and accountability in the content areas. But, how do you measure a primary child being taught to be tolerant of others, a middle school student learning to ward off the evils of bullying and high schoolers marching and speaking on behalf of securing a safer environment? These actions are just a few of the intangibles inspired by teachers. All of us should feel a sense of confidence knowing that today’s young people will be tomorrow’s leaders.
The burdens placed on today’s educators are many. These challenged are not limited to the daily contact with students; they often cut to the very core of the teaching profession. Teachers are threatened with the potential loss of union representation and collective bargaining rights, inadequate funding to have necessary supplies, inequity in salary and benefits and a Federal Department of Education that is less than supportive of public education. Teachers do not cave to these difficulties. They are resilient and successful in spite of these adversities.
As resident educators we value your efforts. We thank you! We accept you as worthy followers in this great profession.
Doris R. Kirsch
President, Western Zone of NYSRTA