Appreciating the educators of America

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Educators are arguably the most undervalued career field in America. This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, a chance to thank those educators who make a difference in our children’s lives.

Teachers play one of the largest roles in a child’s development behind guardians, and in many cases, they end up being the key influencer on a student’s life. A simple smile, high five and a “good job” to a young student can help build a kid’s self-esteem for the rest of their lives.

Teachers play a vital role in development. They spend hours with students each day, often seeing students as much as parents see their kids.

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They are also underpaid, especially for what they give back to the community in what is all too often a thankless profession. Teachers often spend their own money to buy classroom supplies to provide the best learning environment for their students.

They work long hours, deal with low pay and difficult students. However, they show up every day — most of them with a smile on their face — and work because it’s what they love.

Some teachers even work extra hours, adjusting their hours to stay after school and help students with homework assignments or to catch up on missed work.

Also, a teacher’s job never ends. There’s always homework assignments to grade or content to review at home. When they go to a store, they regularly see students and parents who recognize them. There is usually no “off” time for teachers.

Teachers are often judged by test scores, but the job goes so far beyond what is graded.

Their influence goes beyond the classroom, too. Educators have served as unofficial therapists, providers and motivational speakers for their students.

This month is graduation season, and hundreds of teachers will watch their students walk across the stage and earn a diploma. They’ve watched those students overcome difficult times and achieve something that will improve their future job prospects and overall life.

A lot of the applause that night — deservingly so — will be for the students, who have reached a true milestone in life.

But none of them would be there without great educators. Thank you teachers for all you do for our students. All of us owe you a huge thank you.