May 6, 2022
Dear Springfield Public Schools Community:
Throughout this week we have been honored to celebrate our teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week. Over the last five days, our teachers and staff have been showered with well-deserved breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and gifts of appreciation. We are incredibly grateful to the PTA/PTSOs that coordinated these events.
You might be wondering –why are they sending this letter on the last day of the week, as opposed to the first day of the week? Here’s the thing–our educators deserve more than this week, they really deserve these kudos every single day of the school year (and beyond).
The headlines are clear, teachers need our support now more than ever–not just during this week in May, but every day. In the course of a day, our teachers: plan for engaging lessons, work to support students in learning new material about a wide variety of subjects, reach out to families and respond to emails (in a high school, a single teacher might be responsible for one-hundred different students success in a particular subject!), review student achievement data to identify what plans might need to be modified, and communicate with counselors and administrators regarding students that might be struggling. As we cheer at athletic events and applaud at performances, it is our teachers that have spent the time and energy to give the students that moment on the stage or the field.
For many, this work has changed significantly over the last three years. Today, they are working with students who may have been out of a school building for 18 months, and continue supporting students that are learning from home due to the virus. As students struggle with anxiety and mental health, they provide classrooms that are safe harbors and encourage them to find strength. In times of challenging political discourse, they work to develop thoughtful citizens rooted in the belief that education is one of the most critical aspects of our democracy.
Earlier this year, I received an email from a parent that really sums up the gratitude I have for our teachers. They noted, “These last two years have brought challenges for all of us, but it's educators like [our teachers] that make a difference in a child’s life. Not just for that moment but for years to come.”
As we look forward to the end-of-year awards, moving up ceremonies, and graduations, I hope you will join me in continuing to recognize the incredible work that our teachers do every day. It is their work that helps to realize our mission to “challenge every student through meaningful, engaging experiences–empowering all students to flourish and contribute in an evolving world.”