Cumberland Times-News

May 6, 2013

Take the time to appreciate and thank a teacher today

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— Teaching is “enjoying” popularity as a current topic of conversation, but it is an often misunderstood profession.

As educators, we frequently hear well-meaning comments from parents, community members and even friends that, “It must be so fun to spend your work day with children” or “I bet it’s great to be done for the day by 4 p.m.”

Teaching is rewarding, but it is also seriously hard work! It takes complex understanding of psychology, pedagogy and curriculum.

Teachers have to be knowledgeable about health issues and on the alert for neglect and abuse of our students.

Reforms move at warp speed and strategies to “improve” education rarely originate from the teaching ranks.

Yet still, I can say that I have spent over 30 years as an elementary teacher in the Allegany County public schools working alongside the most highly qualified teaching staff in the state of Maryland, and it is the most satisfying work I have ever done.

The 10 and a half hours that most teachers average as our work day indicates a sincere willingness and dedication to go above and beyond to meet students’ needs. Teaching never was, and never will be a “bell-to-bell” job.

We care more about the people our students become, than the scores on the standardized tests that they have to take.

Teachers welcome evaluation and integrate such feedback into practice in order to become the best educators possible. We consider the input we get from principals, peers, parents and also students.

We look to our leaders to provide the kinds of resources we need to be as successful as possible because, let’s face it, you have entrusted us with the future of our community and our nation.

Even with all the challenges, 89 percent of us are satisfied in our profession.

Our frequent frustrations are out-weighed by the satisfaction of seeing students grow and learn.

That is why I take my hat off to all educators on National Teacher Appreciation Day, May 7.

Please be sure to thank a teacher for helping you or your child to learn.

We are dedicated professionals and involved members of our communities, and we strive to make the world a better place in which to live.

Deborah Pappas, president

Allegany County Teachers’ Association