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School closures remind us of importance of teachers


If you can read this, thank a teacher.

This May 4-8, is Teacher Appreciation Week in Wisconsin. It is the time set aside each year, to recognize the talents and hard work put in by thousands of educators around the state, who help open the doors of learning to people of all ages.

“Teachers have the incredible responsibility of educating our youth, preparing them for tomorrow’s world and inspiring a lifelong love of learning,” said state superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor. “As many have seen through the ongoing public health emergency, the ability of teachers to adapt and support their students is invaluable. Teachers dedicate countless hours to helping students succeed, preparing them for further education and teaching them important life skills.”

The role of teachers has taken on an even greater importance during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with school buildings closed and students learning from home.

Teachers are working tirelessly to keep the educational process going, despite obstacles of space and insufficient technological infrastructure.

Teachers have always needed to be creative in connecting with students. The current situation has dialed that need up even more. Teachers are rising to the challenge like the professionals they are.

They have reached out and formed new connections, and new ways of opening the doors to learning. An elementary teacher in Rib Lake, acts out and records lessons that are shared many times more than the school’s population. A Medford music teacher reached out to national recording artists for classroom resources.

Math teachers are calling students at home and working to continue to challenge the students to learn. Special education teachers are working to ensure that students with educational needs are not falling through the cracks during this period of uncertantiy.

Parents and caregivers of school-aged children who have been home since mid-March, have a renewed recognition of the hard work and dedication teachers are doing day after day. No one goes into education to get wealthy or for the glamour of the profession; rather they go in with the goal of making a positive impact on the lives of young people. The success or failure of a teacher cannot be solely measured by their students’ scores on standardized tests, but on who these students grow up to be.

The next time you go to a doctor or dentist, thank the teacher who encouraged a young student’s interest in biology and chemistry. Next time you get your car repaired or see a building constructed, thank teachers who encouraged students in the trades and shared the skills needed to excel. Next time you watch a movie or read a novel, thank the teachers who helped develop that creativity and instilled the fundamental skills needed to succeed.

Take time this week, to thank teachers for all they do, and let them know they are valued and appreciated.

Members of the Courier Sentinel editorial board include publisher Carol O’Leary, general manager Kris O’Leary and Star News editor Brian Wilson.