By Nadene Davidson and Dianna Briggs
While we may not be able to remember who won a Super Bowl, a World Series, an Oscar or a Pulitzer Prize, we all recall teachers who made a positive impact in our lives.
Recently, a group of business leaders were asked to state three descriptors of their most effective teacher. Their responses included: cared about me, encouraged me, had high expectations for me and helped me reach them and believed in me that I would succeed.
Teachers help children of all ages dream big dreams, identify steps needed to achieve those dreams and provide the encouragement to find and celebrate their success — even when success may be different from the child’s original dream.
Teachers put Band-Aids on scrapes, talk students through conflict resolution, help students find joy in solving everyday problems and instill confidence in students to take risks. Teachers prepare learners to respect others’ ideas, apply critical thinking strategies with authentic problems and think independently.
How do you thank the professionals whose goal is to bring out the best in other people’s children?
One way is to acknowledge and understand the complexity of a teacher’s duties. It also is important to provide the resources necessary for the educators to do their work as many teachers supplement the materials needed for classroom strategies with their own money. Understand that teachers engage in ongoing professional development during the summer to continue their own professional growth and enhance personal effectiveness as an educator. Appreciate and respect the dedication that teachers bring to our schools.
One of the things we are most proud of at the University of Northern Iowa is the level of commitment to teaching shown by our teacher candidates. These teacher candidates are committed to making a difference in the lives of their students through hard work, dedication and a vision of the possibilities that each learner can achieve.
Teaching is a noble calling, and it takes more than most are willing to give. Please join us in thanking educators for helping children achieve at high levels, learn to solve complex problems, interact in caring ways and to dream (and achieve) big dreams.
Nadene Davidson is interim head and assistant professor, Department of Teaching at the University of Northern Iowa; Dianna Briggs is interim director and instructor in UNI’s Office of Student Field Experiences. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not imply endorsement by UNI. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org.