Every year, our nation sets aside a week to honor the outstanding people who make an indelible impression in the character of our youngsters. We call it Teacher Appreciation Week. But truly, celebrating the extraordinary commitment of teachers should be a year-round event, because it is an ongoing process; teachers never stop giving, contributing and using their best means to find the spark that will ignite a fire in their students. Officially, however, we do have Teacher Appreciation Week, and we will take it as the formal opportunity to say “thank you” to more than 21,000 individuals in Miami-Dade County’s public schools. Thank you, teachers, for being the heart and soul of our schools and classrooms. Thank you for not only being a teacher, but also for being a mentor, a motivator, and a listener, and if called upon, a nurse, a referee, a detective, a psychologist, or even a friend.
After parents, teachers are the most influential factor in a child’s educational experience. Teachers lay the foundation for good citizenship and have the ability to open a child’s mind to thought-provoking ideas, knowledge and information. Their impact extends far beyond the classroom and into a child’s future, illuminating possibilities for careers never dreamt of and concepts that may never have occurred to them.
I began my career in education as a teacher—a physics teacher at Miami Jackson Senior High School—and I experienced some of my happiest, most exhilarating moments watching students begin the process of discovery, working through an exercise that made them stretch their reasoning capacity in ways they had never imagined, contorting and figuring until they registered the surprised look of “Aha!” with an answer that they had deduced by themselves. That’s a priceless moment, and it’s one of those moments that teachers cherish.
Recent years have posed many challenges to education, including the increased demands of accountability and assessment. However, through it all, teachers remain steadfast in their commitment to their students and their role as facilitators of knowledge. That is why the School Board, the administration and employees of Miami-Dade County Public Schools are proud and honored to stand shoulder to shoulder with our teachers in support of their noble and stellar work. On behalf of our more than 350,000 students and their families, I want teachers to know that their tireless dedication and daily enthusiasm are greatly appreciated.
The Miami Dade County Public School Board celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week from May 4-8. Superintendent Carvalho can be reached at 305-995-1430 or via email superintendent’firstname.lastname@example.org.