Two things have prompted me to choose teachers as my topic for blogging this week. The first reason was the fact that it is World Teacher Day today and that is worth talking about. The second reason, and much closer to my heart, is because I had the privilege of spending Friday talking to most of my teachers about their personal growth plans. I enjoy my job most days but two of my favorite days of the year are kindergarten orientation day and I don’t even have to explain why I love that day. My second is when I actually get to have time to sit down and connect with the teachers in our school and talk to them uninterrupted about the things going on in their classrooms and their lives. The meetings are short and sweet, but so valuable to me.
I have been a teacher myself for 27 years. I seems kind of weird to put that number down in writing and I have to admit that makes me feel a bit old. During that time I have had many different experiences and have taught every grade from kindergarten through grade 12 in one capacity or the other. I have also had the opportunity to work with countless wonderful teacher colleagues from who I have learned many thing about life and teaching. When I am walking around our school and in and out of classrooms, I am able to observe learning and teaching at its finest. It is a great feeling I get to have as a principal knowing that the students in our school are learning and growing everyday under the direction of the hard working and dedicated teachers we have. Countless studies conducted on teacher effectiveness support the fact that effective teachers not only make students feel good about school and learning, but also a teacher’s work results in increased student achievement. As a matter of fact a number of them indicate the teacher is the single most important factor.
Research studies such as these would be no surprise to someone like me who witnesses the effect of a teacher on his or her students every single day I am at my job. Teachers are not only presenting lessons on curricular outcomes and helping students work through academic problems. More importantly, they are helping students every day work through many social issues and problems, wiping away tears and helping students fix mistakes that they have made, handing out hugs when they might not be there from other sources and offering support for students in countless other ways. As a principal, it makes sense to me that one of the most important parts of my job is to support my teachers because I know the effect they are having on our students every day. It is important to have days such as World Teacher Day, so we can stop and think for a moment about the countless ways a teacher has had an effect on our lives. I hope we do not have to wait for a day such as this to be set aside for us to see the importance of supporting and thanking our teachers. I know I don’t.
“This is the value of the teacher, who looks at a face and says there’s something behind that and I want to reach that person, I want to influence that person, I want to encourage that person, I want to enrich, I want to call out that person who is behind that face, behind that color, behind that language, behind that tradition, behind that culture. I believe you can do it. I know what was done for me.” —Maya Angelou