Message from the Executive Director: Thank You, Teachers!

Celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week
…with gratitude, honor, and respect for an entire profession

Inventor and futurist Buckminster Fuller is quoted as saying “There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” I suspect that many of us think back on our “caterpillar” years with some wonder, as we reflect on our life’s journey and quietly give thanks to those who helped us along the way.

From the very beginning, teachers are staunchly committed to the butterfly in every child. Before we ourselves might even have awareness of what could lie ahead for us, teachers are committed to our potential and are gently yet persistently guiding us toward our future manifestation. They are planting seeds and tending saplings; nonetheless, they have faith in the tree—and in the forest that is a future generation. There is something inherently honorable in a profession so dedicated to a purpose much larger than itself and so committed to our collective future.

kids in a classroom raising their hands for the teacher

On a personal level, Teacher Appreciation Week provides everyone the opportunity to express our gratitude to individual educators for giving us the skills that fueled our future dreams. With a commitment to our future, teachers have worked on our behalf every day with patience and dedication—for some of us perhaps, even when we did not always believe in ourselves. With their help, we acquired the skills that made future endeavors possible.

Please join us in thanking and saluting teachers for their role in guiding our individual paths. Often, the seeds they plant and the growth they nurture takes years to fully bloom—and sometimes they themselves may never get to see the true fruits of their labors. Let’s make sure they get to hear our personal thanks. Take a moment this week to reflect on those teachers who inspired us to envision future possibilities, who challenged us when we needed it most, and who guided us through obstacles along the way.

What does true appreciation look like?

On a larger scale however, Teacher Appreciation Week also presents an occasion for communities everywhere to publicly express support and respect for a profession so steadfastly dedicated to our future as a nation—and so integral to its ongoing success. Most importantly, it provides our nation a collective opportunity to reaffirm its utmost and unwavering respect for a profession that makes all other professions possible and is deeply rooted within the very idea of democracy. This type of collective appreciation remains a critical priority for education and becomes reality by ensuring good salaries and excellent working conditions for all teachers, top-notch learning environments for all children, and the necessary support and materials for educators to do the job in a way that all children deserve.

True appreciation also means that we continuously support communities to create a collaborative culture in every school, to foster teacher leadership at all levels, and to honor teacher expertise in all of education’s goals and efforts. At the school, state, and national levels, teacher voice must always be included and empowered as we seek to improve educational practices or establish new standards of excellence.

Fostering teacher leadership

The leadership of teachers is always essential in achieving the goals we seek for our children; and more than any curriculum, it is actually the very modeling of this practice that creates the most influential norms for students. If we want our kids to demonstrate leadership skills, to embrace challenge, to collaborate with others effectively, and to be lifelong learners, it is imperative of course that the adult culture of the community around them is demonstrating and modeling these norms each and every day.

The mission of the Pegasus Springs Education Collective focuses on the importance of connecting all educators and stakeholders, and it rests on a belief that it is only through ongoing collaboration that we are able to successfully harness the collective expertise necessary to positively impact education in all communities and for all children. Our mission is also based on the research about collective efficacy and school culture—and the tremendous impact these concepts can have on achieving the student outcomes toward which we all strive. Quite simply, our collective strength tends to be greater than the sum of our efforts, and so we must facilitate the conditions for a collaborative culture to thrive.

Together, we can change the future

In short, we believe that together we can navigate any challenge and succeed at giving wings to the dreams we want for all children. For this reason, we foster a supportive community of individuals and organizations who share a passion for students and their future. And this week, we join communities everywhere to not only express our deepest gratitude to teachers—but also to truly appreciate an entire profession, so richly deserving of our support and respect.

About the Author

Craig is co-founder of the Pegasus Springs organizations and Executive Director of the Pegasus Springs Education Collective. During his education career, he has served as a teacher, mentor, assistant principal, principal, and assistant superintendent. He has presented at regional and national conferences, and he is a recipient of the Association for Middle Level Education’s national Distinguished Educator Award.