Commentary: Appreciation for Our Teachers


There is a horrible and deceptive idea circulating among elites and others that teaching is an easy job and can be done by anybody. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In education teachers are those who educate students or pupils. A teacher is someone who looks into the eyes of every child, recognizes the uniqueness of that child, and inspires the individual talents and strengths of that child with their own distinctive ability.

Low salary, increasing responsibility, and demoralizing public opinion are just a few of the obstacles that public school educators face. But the truth is most educators are not in it for the money.  The old saying is true: “Teachers don’t work for the income; teachers work for the outcome.” And while money is not the motivating factor in determining a career in education, that doesn’t mean they are free from the need to make a decent living suitable for their talents, education, and contribution to society.

The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) recently launched Teach Today. Change Tomorrow – to recruit millennials to become teachers in Tennessee. We are very supportive of this new initiative.

We remind policymakers that by providing a stable, enjoyable work experience teachers will pursue a career in teaching and those already in the classroom will remain in the profession. Educators thrive when they feel like school management, school board, and their communities are listening to them. It creates a mutually beneficial environment for all.

Teachers are vital members of the community. Recently, with the unanimous passage of the Teacher Bill of Rights by the Tennessee General Assembly, two things stood out for me. As we promoted the legislation alongside Senator Mark Green, Senator Jim Tracy, and Representative Jay Reedy, we really drove the point to policymakers that educators should: (1) be treated with civility and respect, and (2) Have his or her professional judgment and discretion respected.

Authentic educator voices are imperative at influencing our educational policies for our state and school districts, our schools, and our students. To that end, we should not isolate teachers in the classroom throughout their professional lives. We need to engage them within our communities. We should also ensure that they have the time to be available to share ideas and to talk to and with each other.

Most of us have at least one teacher that we cannot forget, a teacher who inspired us to be a better student and person. So this week, Teacher Appreciation Week, let us know about the teacher who made a lasting contribution to your life. You can list below in the comments section or email [email protected]

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JC Bowman is the Executive Director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, a non-partisan teacher association headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Follow him on Twitter @jcbowman. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author and the association are properly cited. 



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