It has been a strange, difficult year. As the pandemic swept across the country and invaded our small community, we saw numerous individuals rise to the occasion and become more than mere bystanders. Most notably among these heroes has been our teachers, whose unwavering dedication and commitment to their students is deserving of our deepest gratitude. As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week May 3-7, we owe our over 4 million K-12 educators a sincere thanks for going above and beyond their duties, not just during a year weighed down by uncertainty and change, but for a lifetime spent shaping and nurturing the minds of the future.
Having grown up within a family of educators, I feel I have a unique understanding of the challenges they face on a daily basis. At the best of times I’ve witnessed the ongoing struggles to connect with every student, finding ways to engage each among obstacles like large class sizes, multiple learning styles and difficulties, and parental involvement or lack thereof. Remote learning due to COVID forced even more barriers this past year, and the flexible, adaptive solutions displayed by our teachers was nothing short of inspiring.
Over the years I’ve watched as the care and attention placed on students and their development expanded beyond the classroom. Items like school supplies, food, and even clothing have been delivered to students and their families in need, often at the expense of the educator. These actions have typically gone under the radar, and have been just another day in the life of an educator.
Whether we had a difficult time in school or found the experience in the classroom enlightening, we all have stories of teachers who affected our lives. Let’s all remember to praise the ways that teachers continue to rise to each challenge and help define our lives, especially during this special week that recognizes their enormous contributions.
I would like to offer a sincere thanks to my former teachers like Mr. Tom Hoover, EHS English Lit, who taught me to read between the lines to find the greater meaning of the overall story; Mr. Dave Fog, EHS Vocal Director, whose passion for music lit a fire inside me that continues to burn; Mrs. Judy Murphy, ECS 5th Grade, who challenged my young mind to remain focused and engaged; and the late Ms. Nicki Meier, EMS Vocal, who taught me that it can’t rain every day, and helped me find my footing as a stumbling young adult. Special thanks goes to Mrs. Kari Schany, my mother, and Mrs. Mary Blake, my grandmother. Though I never had the privilege to have you as my teachers, the string of praises offered by the long list of your former students speaks volumes on the lives you’ve touched over the years. To you and all of the teachers out there…