Usually we think of Teacher Appreciation Week as a time to honor K–12 teachers. This week is typically filled with handwritten and lovingly decorated notes of appreciation, flowers left on desks and long, strong hugs of recognition for the support each and every educator gives to our students.
That’s not happening this year. No one could have predicted how different our lives would be in the beginning of the year, but here we are. Instead, teachers are being recognized in a way that we have not seen in the past, right next to healthcare workers, and we at the Council for Professional Recognition applaud them.
While every year we honor each and every one of the educators who have taken the steps and committed to their students by earning the Child Development Associate® (CDA) Credential™, the COVID-19 pandemic has made us more aware than ever of how worthy of appreciation our early childhood educators are. And we want to highlight those teachers who have continued to work, shifting their approach in the blink of an eye.
We are also seeing a new level of gratitude for our educators as parents are asked to support their children’s learning from a distance. At a Montessori school in Maryland, teachers are engaging with essential workers’ students in the building and the rest of their students online. Parents Will and Emi are grateful for this. Will explains that, as a dad, he knows he can give his daughter his undivided attention, but he appreciates that his daughter’s teacher is able to engage each child in this new virtual setting and make them each feel her individual attention, a skill that can be learned from the process to earn the CDA. Will and Emi feel this is an eye-opening moment for parents like them, as they have a new appreciation for all the planning and work that goes into each and every school day. Their hope is that, in the not-too-distant future, their daughter will again be able to share in personal moments with her teachers and classmates.
Teachers can feel like family. That is how Zoe feels about her daughters’ schools in Virginia. She believes their early education experiences are truly like an extension of their home, a place where her children feel safe and loved and enjoy themselves while learning. It takes a very special kind of person to be a teacher, and Zoe is so grateful for the ones in her life.
Every day I wake up, I find myself thinking what would I do without Julia Downs, my seven-year old’s reading teacher? Since the pandemic started, Ms. Down’s has been sending him handwritten letters and videos of herself reading books. She also meets with him weekly online to make sure his reading skills continue to grow. I am also grateful for my mother-in-law, a retired public school teacher from New York, who reads with my son and goes through a phonics lessons with him every day online. Ms. Downs and my mother-in-law have been a blessing to my young son during this pandemic, and I am so appreciative for their devotion to his success.
I was moved by author Kelly Corrigan’s vision for a post-pandemic world. As she so eloquently shares, “We discovered that teaching is the most complex, high-impact profession known to man, and we started compensating our teachers fairly for their irreplaceable work.”
So, as we celebrate our amazing educators this week, let’s commit to one another that we celebrate them each and every day.