Never before have parents had a deeper understanding of the trials faced by teaching staff. School closures and shelter in place orders have left parents struggling to fill the void left by our county’s capable teachers. 

In 1944, discussions began to create a day to honor the nation’s educators. In 1953, Eleanor Roosevelt persuaded Congress to proclaim National Teacher Day. This day was observed on the first Tuesday in March until 1985 when the national Parent Teacher Association established the first week in May as Teacher Appreciation Week. 

The role educators play in the lives of our children is crucial. Teachers shape the paths set before their students in all of their future endeavors. They mold our future leaders, they sculpt the next generation of artists, laborers, and educators and create boundless potential for every child they encounter. 

Teachers exhibit traits nearly lost on the general population. They are kind and sensitive to the needs of our children. Our educators are patient and supportive in situations where even a child’s own parents might feel tested. 

Most teachers take money out of their own pockets to decorate classrooms and create positive environments and enlightening spaces for our children to learn and grow but also to garner some sense of stability and safety in a remarkably unsure world. They remember birthdays and celebrate successes, they are shoulders to cry on, venting posts, and disciplinarians. From early morning until mid-afternoon, Monday through Friday, they are a surrogate parent to the children entrusted to their care. 

They feed our youth. They bandage owwies and wipe away tears. They share in our children’s laughter and joy and they weep in times of sorrow. 

Few people will impact a child’s life as much as a teacher. 

This National Teacher Appreciation Week is designed to allow parents, administrators, and the general public an opportunity to recognize our greatest asset; our teachers. 

On this National Teacher Appreciation Week a special thank you goes out to all of our area teachers. Members of administration from area schools also took the opportunity to express their heartfelt gratitude and admiration for all of these dedicated men and women. 

“Many people have heard the saying that “a great teacher inspires.” This is absolutely true. What we don’t hear too often is how difficult it is to be a “great teacher.” A national OSMO survey, during the COVID-19 remote learning orders, discovered that 77% of parents believe that the teaching profession is harder than their current jobs. That poll does not surprise me one bit. One big positive that is coming from this pandemic is that many folks have a much higher appreciation of the teaching field and teachers. We have many great teachers at my school and I know Rusk County is full of teachers that inspire students to achieve goals they never thought they could reach. Teachers, you are an inspiration to us all!!! Thank you for teaching and loving our kids! You’re the best!” - Byron Jordan, Superintendent, Mt. Enterprise ISD. 

“Teachers are the most important people in the district. Our teachers love their students and go way beyond the normal expectations to serve each of them. The closure has shown that education cannot be summed up as a classroom activity as our Mustang Family has reached out electronically, by phone, in letters, and in-person to let our students know that we are here for them and everything is going to be all right.” - Stephen DuBose, Overton ISD Superintendent.

“It has been amazing to watch, amongst the sadness of not seeing our kids, how our teachers have tackled every challenge with positivity and unrelenting determination. It just proved what an educator can do and the huge impact they have on our community!” - Matthew Quick, Principal, Tatum High School.

“To our wonderful Leverett’s Chapel teachers as well as our teacher aides, it has been an honor this year to watch you adapt to the unforeseen change in school instruction the last several weeks of our school doors being closed. Prior to our school closure, you worked tirelessly providing quality instruction to all of our students. It was evident you have a great love for what you do. For our STAAR Tested areas, teachers, you had our students ready and prepared to conquer that STAAR Test this year. To all of our extracurricular teachers, you provide an avenue of love and joy to our students other than their academic classes. Life threw us all a curveball this year. Coming back from our spring break, you received the devastating news that we had to shut down the school for the safety of everyone. Did that stop you? No. You shifted gears and began preparing weekly for assignments to be sent home to ensure learning wouldn’t cease for our Leverett’s Chapel students. You’ve let me know how much you miss seeing your kids on a daily basis. I would like to add a big thank you to our cafeteria staff for your commitment to having a hot lunch prepared for our students each day during their lunch pickup. You’ve all met the challenge head-on and proved you can adapt as well. This will be a year we will never forget. Thank you for all you’ve done this year to make it another wonderful year at Leverett’s Chapel Independent School District. I and the other campus administrators really do appreciate you and all that you do.” - Joshua Johnson, Superintendent, Leverett’s Chapel ISD 

“Our Wylie Elementary teachers work hard to ensure that a strong relationship is developed with all of their students. Once a child knows that their teacher cares, the learning can begin. They are amazing! They often arrive early and take work home with them in the evenings. They work weekends and summers to make sure our students receive the best education possible. They always go above and beyond! Of course, Wylie teachers not only ensure our students’ academic needs are met but also their social and emotional needs as well. They have the biggest hearts! “ - Deidra Sutton, Principal, Wylie Elementary.

“The teaching profession has been under-appreciated for too many years. The COVID-19 crisis has given many people a glimpse into the job that teachers do on a daily basis. I am truly amazed at the job teachers do each day while watching the demands grow since I got into the profession 24 years ago. I cannot think of a job that has more responsibility than that of a teacher.” - Terry Everitt, Principal, Henderson High School.

“I just want everyone to know how much I appreciate all of our MAC staff! They are all wonderful teachers, educators, mentors, colleagues, counselors, helpers, and friends. This ship wouldn’t sail without each of them. I just want to thank them for all they do for our students and our great school district.” - Clay Freeman, Principal, Montgomery Achievement Center.

“I would like to take this time to recognize our teachers for their tireless efforts to engage our students. Teachers are the gatekeepers for helping students achieve their dreams.” - Dr. Thurston Lamb, HISD Superintendent.

“The teachers at West Rusk High School have done an outstanding job of reaching out to the students of our school family. In fact, many teachers have discovered new ways to connect with and teach their students. Our teachers at West Rusk High responded with quick action and positive attitudes from the very beginning of this process in mid-March. Not a single teacher has shied away from the new uses of technology, the newly defined work hours, or the responsibility of teaching our kids. It has been tough on everyone during this unique time, but I have been so proud of the professional actions of our teachers and how they have helped maintain peace and consistency for our families.” - Jake Jackson, Principal, West Rusk High School.

“Carlisle Teachers and the entire staff have been exceptional in taking care of our kids during these trying times. They have never wavered in their dedication to the students. I am truly proud of all our employees!” - Michael Payne, Superintendent, Carlisle ISD.

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