During Teacher Appreciation Week, now is the time to reflect on the great work you are doing across the country for our children and the impact you’ve had on our lives. We depend on you each day to not only teach the next generation of Americans how to read and write, but to help build a skill-set to prepare children for 21st century jobs, many of which haven’t even been invented yet.
This is no easy feat. Teachers have one of the toughest jobs in America. You’re likely mentally, emotionally and physically drained from your more than 50-hour work weeks, and the underlying expectation to be “on” 24/7. Like all of us, I know that teachers have good days and bad days. You’re under increasing pressure to stay abreast of the ever-changing new policies, programs and curriculum models, while also trying your hardest to fit meaningful, personalized lessons into your class day. You’re asked to infuse creativity into the classroom, while your state and school district continue to add more to your agenda each day. Inevitably, there are also days when students are not paying attention and you don’t feel as appreciated as you should. During these days, remember that you are making a difference in our children’s lives and inspiring them, whether they showcase it or not.
Despite all of these obstacles placed in front of you, 98 percent of teachers believe teaching is more than a profession; it is how they make a difference in the world—one child at a time. You became teachers to make a difference in the lives of children and you deserve to be respected, valued, and supported.
I was one of those children whose life trajectory was changed by my teachers, all of whom shaped my life, and I have them to thank for who I am today. The most significant impact on my life was as an 8th grader in Mrs. Mac’s science class. She encouraged me to enter a science fair with a project around Boolean Algebra, the language of computers. This challenge engaged my natural love of math with my equal love for hands on “tinkering”. I used switches from a Trailways bus, a light from a Farmall Tractor and the hand generator from an old style telephone to complete the project. To my amazement, I won! It made me realize I had other paths in life and did indeed have choices. While a life in agriculture would have been productive and fruitful, my life followed a different path opened up by my teacher. I became an engineer and ultimately an industry leader in of all areas, education!
On this Teacher Appreciation Day, I applaud you for your courage, determination and selflessness to continue devoting your lives to help our children be curious, create, succeed and grow. Know that you are shaping the lives of our youth and I thank you for all that you do each day for our children; your passion, love and dedication does not go unnoticed.
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
President Emeritus and Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships, LEGO Education