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Letter to Editor: Teachers are role models in the community

Think back to your time in school. For some, this will be recent and for others the memories may be from further in the past, but regardless of the time and whether or not you liked school, I am willing to bet that you still remember at least one teacher who made you feel welcome, connected with you, made you want to learn what they had to offer or at the very least gave you the chance to feel good about yourself and your potential. That teacher, or many others like them are still here. They come to school and are engaging students and working to build knowledge and skills that our students will carry into their future like you have carried skill and knowledge into yours.

As an educator in my 15th year, a great number of students have come through my classroom (I estimate it at around 2,000). With an impressive response to a challenge, an inquisitive question no one else has asked, a staggering intellect or a witty remark, every student has the ability to amaze and surprise me. Likewise, my colleagues continue to amaze and surprise me with skill, empathy and professionalism every day.

Teachers are acutely aware of their responsibilities as role models in our community. We constantly consider the unspoken messages we send. Do we work diligently to solve real problems? Do we prioritize our efforts on important matters? Do we demonstrate maturity even when we disagree? Do we depend upon wisdom, rationality and sound judgment, rather than emotional outbursts to defend or express our opinions and ideas? Do we offer informed, reasonable and researched ideas to address problems?

As a teacher, I expect this of myself every day. I am not always successful, yet I strive to be and do better for my students and for my community.

Communities who respect individuals who become teachers attract individuals who become great teachers. Communities who respect the choice to make teaching a career, keep teachers who are great. Communities that respect what teachers do, recognize the value of great teachers, and support the the betterment of students and the entire community, reap the benefits of having a dedicated and professional group of people working and supporting the community and all of the people therein.