I’d like to encourage every educator who is currently in the classroom to do one very important thing: please stay. I know it seems silly for someone like me to say that — as I chose to leave this challenging profession before the pandemic even hit. Now I look at all of you who chose to stay, through the pandemic, and just have to say, “WOW.” I have so much respect, admiration, and appreciation for your decision to keep moving our world forward by showing up for your students each and every day.
In my position, I have the incredible privilege to work closely with fabulous teachers who are doing impactful work. Work that I wholeheartedly believe is changing the world. I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight some of what’s happening in classrooms just like yours. Below are just a few teachers who are showing up each day to make an impact in ways both big and small.
As a previous kindergarten teacher and as a parent, I feel like I know a good kindergarten teacher when I see one! This is her. She makes learning engaging, interactive, and FUN. She immerses her students in work that allows them to learn about their world through experiences they will remember for years to come. Who else throws an equinox party to celebrate the changing season? Or makes a collaborative alphabet poster to showcase student-developed solutions on how to make the world a better place? She does. And she continually seeks out these opportunities and makes them happen.
Imagine getting hired at a school that was expanding and getting a new grade level added. On top of that, you’ve been tasked with creating this grade level from the ground up. This is both exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. This is him. Prior to this year, his school was for kindergarten through 4th grade. This year, the school was able to make fifth grade a reality. Why? Because of the amazing work that each of teachers like Carl. Carl has jumped on board with drive, passion, and a sincere interest in promoting outdoor learning with his fifth graders.
Christine reminds me to take a moment and be thankful for all of you who have decided to go into the teaching profession these past 5 years. You may be one of these teachers, and goodness, I am so very appreciative of you. This is her. She is full of fresh ideas and energy. Christina has jumped into this school year with an open mind and a willingness to tackle any challenge. Her 1st and 2nd graders are engaging in real science through exploration of their personal health and the health of their ecosystem – and learning about how each of these relate to one another.
There are some really cool teachers who see a learning opportunity and instead of simply acknowledging the possibility, go out there and make that learning happen. This is him. He sees a learning opportunity as a chance to solve real world problems. Take, for example, the drop off line at school. His 3rd and 4th graders recognized that it was becoming a problem. They decided to do some real world math by calculating the number of cars that were traveling through over a period of time. Why? Because they wanted to take action and see if they could influence others to drive less, potentially seeking out other options to get to school.
Over 4 million U.S. teachers are courageously navigating classrooms each and every day. You are one of them. You wake up each day with a willingness to do this most difficult job. Power through even after you feel defeated in moments when our world hasn’t treated you kindly. Most of all, you persevere because that is what you do. So, please stay continue to choose your classroom. Please continue to show up and do the most important job in our world. We need each and every one of you!