State school chief to teachers: You are changing lives. Thank you.

Teacher Tara Pitts checks the work of third graders at T.J. Perkerson Elementary School in Atlanta. BRANT SANDERLIN/BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

At the end of a tough testing week for many teachers, here are some words of appreciation from State School Superintendent Richard Woods.

By Richard Woods

As my thoughts turned toward Teacher Appreciation Month 2016 — which we’ll celebrate throughout the month of May here in Georgia — specific names and faces kept coming to mind.

I thought of Mrs. Phillips, my third grade teacher, who wrote a letter to encourage me when I moved away, and Mrs. Michaels, my fifth grade teacher, who drove me home from school every day. I remembered my art teacher, Mr. Hudson, and Mrs. Linda Roberts, the math teacher who worked across from me when I first became a teacher, and provided a wonderful example in my early years as an educator.

I thought of the teachers who have shaped my life, and then I thought of the many teachers I have met here in Georgia who are deeply committed to doing their jobs well. Their work is not easy. The circumstances are not perfect. But they are focused, first and foremost, on their students.

I also want to thank our legislators, particularly Sen. Lindsey Tippins for passing Senate Bill 364. I believe their actions speak loud and clear, and show that they appreciate all that our teachers do, because they recognize the burden of too many state-mandated tests and the over-emphasis of these tests on teacher evaluations. They took action to allow our teachers to be creative and teach again rather than focus on just a test.

Senate Bill 364 would remove many of the barriers that have caused more of our teachers to leave the profession and fewer young people to choose teaching as a profession. The Legislature overwhelmingly demonstrated to teachers they do recognize the difficult job you have and the time and energy spent on testing and evaluations. While I know this one piece of legislation will not take away all the challenges you face, I believe it is a big step in the right direction.

To all teachers: I want you to know how much you are appreciated and how essential your contribution is. Students cannot receive an excellent education without you — you are truly educating Georgia’s future, each and every day. I want you to know that I’ve heard your concerns about the profession and will continue to work, in every way I am able, to create an environment that allows you to teach and your students to learn.

To my fellow Georgians: please join me in celebrating our teachers this month. Here are several resources that will help you do just that:

Here are graphics to share on various social media: herehere and here.  And here is a template for a thank you note.

I also encourage you to share stories of great teachers using the hashtag #thankaGAteacher.

Again, I want to express my sincere gratitude to each and every one of Georgia’s teachers. Please don’t ever doubt that your work makes a difference. You are changing the lives of Georgia’s students, every single day.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

14 comments
dcdcdc
dcdcdc

Good teachers are worth their weight on gold.  Great teachers are truly invaluable. 


Unfortunately we pay the "so so" teachers the same as the good/great ones.  And even worse, the truly awful ones who damage their kids - get this - not only get paid the same, but end up w/ parents transferring their kids out of their class, so their workload goes down.


The incentive system in our schools is truly an abomination.  The good and great teachers deserve so much more.


And the bad ones so much less.

insideview
insideview

@Javan Bukhaya The students probably don't see it that way. They probably see it as a "needs love" rating.

mensa_dropout
mensa_dropout

Yo, Woods!

Testing isn't over yet.  For some, it just...started...

Chad Cole
Chad Cole

It would be nice if our governor felt the same way. This fellow is the first state offucial since Zell Miller to listen to the teachers, and then take action for the teachers. He has done more for us than anyone else in a loooong time.

Astropig
Astropig

"This fellow is the first state offucial since Zell Miller to listen to the teachers, and then take action for the teachers. He has done more for us than anyone else in a loooong time."


That's nice to see and I appreciate an unbiased view of his efforts.The picture we had gotten earlier is that he just choppers around the state all the time and doesn't really do anything.I guess the far right has their "black helicopters" full of shadowy government agents and the far,far left has their "state helicopters" of people doing their jobs that keep both sides up at night.

redweather
redweather

@Astropig It sounds like Chad Cole is a teacher, and yet you credit his comment as being unbiased because he has a positive view of Woods. So in your view as long as teachers say nice things about Woods, they are unbiased; otherwise, they are untrustworthy members of the education establishment. Got it.

Astropig
Astropig

@redweather @Astropig


I don't know what he is.Not really sure. He could be an administrator,principal,whatever.


The only comment that I'll make is that liberals really,really hate their methods being held up to a mirror.That's all I'll say.

Astropig
Astropig

@redweather @Astropig


They're a monolith that takes their marching orders from MSNBC and Bernie Sanders.That's the analogue that is (most likely) lost on you.


Not very pretty,eh?

redweather
redweather

And while we're at it, I would like to salute all the students who come to class prepared, turn in their assignments on time, and respect the learning environment. Your teachers always appreciate you. And also know that your example will sometimes convince a classmate to follow your lead. I see it happen every semester.

insideview
insideview

State legislators should pay teachers like they appreciate them. 

Tom Green
Tom Green

Well, that sure beats the, "shut up and be thankful you have a job" management style that's been prevalent in GA education for the past 8 years.

Javan Bukhaya
Javan Bukhaya

We're changing lives, but if we work in a poor school with CONSEQUENTLY, bad test scores, we're "Needs Improvement" - empty gestures of appreciation