This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week, and I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation and admiration for Georgia’s teachers.
As State Superintendent, I have the pleasure of visiting many, many schools. And, when I am visiting classrooms, I always make a point of asking students to share with me what they think is the best thing about their school. Without exception, the most popular answer is "our teachers!"
We must never forget that it is great teachers in classrooms across our state that are making a difference in the lives of our children and ensuring that our next generation will be prepared for the challenges ahead.
The 2002-2003 National Teacher of the Year, Chaunchey Veatch, said it well when he stated, "There’s nothing more fundamental in a democracy for our survival than an educated and literate public. Without that, the rest is meaningless." He is absolutely right! Teaching is a patriotic act because education is what makes an informed and involved citizenry, which is the greatest assurance of our freedom.
It is so important that we stop and take the time to recognize the profound impact that teachers have upon our society and to express our appreciation for their tireless dedication. As Henry Adams once said, "Teachers affect eternity; they can never tell where their influence stops."
I often hear from many of the students I taught during my 15 years as a classroom teacher. They tell me how our relationship or a certain lesson stayed with them and had an impact on their life. Just this week, my heart swelled with pride when I recently visited a former student of mine who is now a teacher herself.
I want to say a personal thank you to all of Georgia’s outstanding teachers for their hard work and dedication. And during Teacher Appreciation Week, I urge all Georgians to reach out and say "thank you" to a teacher that helped shape their life.
State Superintendent of Schools