Teacher’s Matter Everyday

This is just finding out that I received the 2004-2005 Teacher of the Year in Paterson, New Jersey.

Teachers matter everyday. Everyday you matter to the growth and development of every student in many different ways. Every morning you matter to students when you greet them with a smile of encouragement. You matter everyday to the student that you did not give up on…even when they've given up on themselves. Everyday you matter to that child that anxiously awaits your approval on the assignment that they've labored for days to perfect. Everyday you matter to the student that no one seems to understand, but you. Everyday you matter to the student who has disappointed you, yet you give them as many times as it takes to get it right. Everyday you matter by thinking of your students before you think of yourself. Buying supplies for those unprepared students who enter you classroom. The endless resources you come across that may enhance their educational experience. Everyday you matter as the nagging nurturer who pushes students to not meet expectations, but to exceed them. 

I’ve had the pleasure of being in education for 23 years. I have 9 years of classroom experience and 14 years as an administrator. I hold a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and I taught social studies and science in middle school. Some of my highlights were being honored as Teacher of the Year in 2004-05 and I was also the recipient of a $5,000 Grant from JP Morgan, which allowed my school the opportunity to purchase materials for our socials studies curriculum. I think it’s imperative as administrators to support, encourage, and appreciate how important you are to your students in the classroom, in their lives, and in the communities.

Teachers, I applaud you. We hear the news on the educational plight, but you continue to face the daily challenges for our students. Thank you for being their guidance when they need you the most. We appreciate you being the calm in the storm in many students lives. Being the voice of reason, vote of confidence, and molder of minds. The seeds you plant today take time to harvest. Please be patient, consistent and continue to improve on your craft. Remember, you are where you are today because someone took a vested interest in you. If you are lost or confused about this profession, remember…you matter, everyday. You are the “can” when they cannot, the “will” when they will not and the “do” when they don't.

Teachers, with the countless hours you have vested in your students, its important that you find time to decompress. I was once guilty of getting so entrenched in my career that I set no time aside to enjoy my family, friends, and even myself. Being mindful is being conscious of your present condition. It’s important to know your limits and your breaking points so that you don’t overexert yourself. Know when to take breaks, but also don't forget to reward yourself. Take time to do things YOU love. Go for a hike, a movie, shop, exercise, have a glass of wine, meditate, grab a massage, try a new restaurant, or whatever it is that helps you unwind. Know your well-being matters. 

In the airlines, we all know verbatim this line that flight attendants say, “In case there is a loss in cabin pressure, yellow oxygen masks will deploy from the ceiling compartment located above you…..Please make sure to secure your own mask before assisting others.” 

Secure your own mask first. It's what you're supposed to do. 

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