Response from “Ask Former Trustees – Clear Creek ISD Chapter”: Joanna Baleson, Ken Baliker, Jennifer Broddle, Bob Davee, Glenn Freedman, Ann Hammond, Charlie Pond, Page Rander, Dee Scott, Win Weber

Teacher appreciation from school boards

School boards set the tone for the district when it comes to demonstrating who and what is important, valued and deserving of public recognition. Traditionally, school boards honor teachers during ‘special weeks,’ like Teacher Appreciation Week or by ‘special recognitions’ during board meetings, on campuses, or at community events. Of course, pay raises are always appreciated!

What other ways are there to honor teachers?

In addition to the public displays of support for teachers, school boards show teachers how important they are in a number of meaningful ways. Here are just a few:

1. The Personal Approach: Personal, handwritten notes are still one of the best ways to show appreciation. The board might also send notes to a teacher’s principal detailing why a teacher has earned board acknowledgement.

2. The Professional Approach: No one knows more about teaching than teachers, especially those with experience and proven track records as academic leaders. By taking advantage of teachers’ insights and recommendations, school districts can benefit by improving classroom instruction, morale and retention, and even legislative advocacy. Teachers who are empowered by being part of the district’s decision-making processes tend to have greater job satisfaction.

3. The Student Approach: Student excellence is rewarded in many ways – from certificates to scholarships.  And, student achievement is often the result of one or more teachers who inspired, supported, believed in, guided, and instructed those students.  The simple act of recognizing the teachers who made the students’ successes possible rewards teachers and reminds us all of their importance in fostering students’ outstanding achievements.

4. The Respectful Approach: Too often, teachers are taken for granted.  In both fact and deed, teachers are highly educated, experienced, dedicated professionals.  Their status in society and across the culture is one of honor.  They have earned and deserve our respect for the importance of what they do and for the way in which they do carry out their responsibilities.  Kindness and respect go a long way.

Teachers are simultaneously public servants, public leaders, and the cornerstone of a democratic nation.  Every elected official who votes to trivialize teachers through excessive regulations, political pandering, or skimping on necessities does a disservice to our nation.

Teachers are indeed our children’s first responders.

5. The Pandemic Approach: What most teachers have accomplished during the pandemic is astonishing when taken as a whole:  Instructing students from classroom to virtual to blended and back; revamped curriculum; teaching children a teacher may never have met; teaching under the threat of a deadly disease; teaching children whose homes may not have been equipped for virtual learning or whose home lives were marked by poverty, lack of food, poor parenting, and a host of other social ills; dealing with their own social isolation; managing the ever-changing, sometimes-contradictory public health mandates, and so much more.  Teachers have been our children’s first responders.  Celebrate their resilience and accomplishments

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