Let’s value teachers, not just during an emergency


By Michele Hill and Carolyn Ferrucci

Why don’t we take the time to tell those we value of their importance to us as members of the educational and human family? It seems that we require circumstances to be dire to tell those we work with that we appreciate their efforts. It seems that we only realize just how much we rely on what others do during a national emergency. Let’s change that. 

Far too often, we get busy with our lives. Our routines and the tediousness of everyday life often prevent us from recognizing others. Our blinders shift inwards and we become myopically focused on what we have to accomplish that day. The end result is we don’t stop to tell people how much we value them; how integral they are to us being able to do our own jobs well. Let’s change that.

They should know they’re doing an extraordinary job. They should know how much they are appreciated even though they are being compensated to do what they do. They should know that their vision and voice regarding student learning is just as important as others’. They should be told more often than they are. Let’s change that.

Let’s change that by reaching out to one another and letting them know how we feel. Send an email, text, or use the phone. But let them know how much what they do matters. 

To our superintendents, You should know, you’re doing an amazing job. Thank you for your vision of where we can grow as a district to further engage students. Thank you for everything you’re doing to support our teachers. Thank you for continuously reaching out each day to all of us. If you don’t know by now how much I admire and appreciate you.

To our principals and and building level administrators, I admire your commitment to the safety of our students and staff. Your leadership in time such as these is exemplified by your uplifting message with words of encouragement and your participation in the daily lives of students and all personnel. You are appreciated more than you can imagine. 

To our IT and technology support people, there are not enough words to say thank you for your efforts in bringing technology into the hands of students and staff – and for the expedient and continuous troubleshooting and problem solving that comes with tech. E-learning would not be possible with you. You are the lynchpin in education today and going forward, always. 

To our teachers, you rolled up your sleeves and upended education with little to no warning. You came together and supported one another in new ways to teach students remotely – and you are nailing it! I am amazed at your efforts in learning new forms of technology and Apps to better serve your students. What you do day-in and day-out for the betterment of our students is nothing short of a miracle. Thank you for willingness to step outside of your comfort zones and grow as educators during such a turbulent time. 

To the members of our maintenance staff, thank you for being the first line of defense to ensure the safety of our students and staff. Long before school closures, you were working hard at mitigating the spread of viruses and other illnesses that affect our students and staff. Thank you for being our first responders. You guys and gals rock!!

To our food service personnel, thank you for your heroic efforts in continuing to feed our students. You heard the call and jumped right in to develop a plan of action to nourish our kids. Thank you for preparing grab and go breakfast and lunches for our students that rely on schools for daily nutrition; they depend on you for the most basic of human needs – and you didn’t let them down. Thank you!

To our support staff, thank you for being our silent heroes. You often act behind the scenes, but you impact everything that happens in a school district. Please know that without you, the school engine doesn’t run. Every role in a school is somewhat unique – and yours is no different. You assist others in meaningful ways and fill in the gaps so we excel. You are vital to the success of our school. 

To our coaches and extra-curricular advisers, thank you for continuing to motivate and inspire our students from remote locations. Your enthusiasm and commitment is infectious. Creating fun challenges and training programs that virtually bring people together in solidarity and promote school pride during this difficult time is key for the social and emotional well being of our students and staff. Rock on!

While I’m focusing on education in this article, feel free to extend your thanks to the broader community. To those who show up for work, putting their own health on the line. To the nurses, doctors, and therapists. To the cashiers, truckers, farmers, postal service folks, police officers, fire fighters, bank tellers, and other essential personnel – you are appreciated!

Let’s make this a habit of mind that remains with us when we return to our offices and classrooms. We encourage teachers to provide specific feedback, let’s do that ourselves. 

Let’s start now. 

About the authors

Michele Hill is a passionate educator who serves as a coordinator of admissions and communications at Burlington County Institute of Technology. Throughout her career as an educator, Michele has been a champion for struggling and impoverished students. Michele has been a guest blogger for ASCD Inservice, McGraw Hill, Principal Leadership, Teacher Tool Kit UK, Edweek and ASCD Road Tested. Michele is the producer of DisruptEdTV School Spotlight. You can follow Michele on Twitter @HillMrispo or visit her blog: spiritededucator.blogspot.com

Carolyn Ferrucci is a passionate educator and supervisor of instruction at Delsea Regional High School District in southern New Jersey. A veteran educator, Carolyn has spent the last 25 years at Delsea as both teacher and administrator. She views teaching as the noblest profession and began her career in private education 30 years ago.