As Teacher Appreciation week wraps up, I’ve wanted to write something up to show appreciation to the teachers of Minneota High School. All week, I’ve struggled to start this because it’s hard to put into words how much teachers mean to me personally and professionally.
As a high school student, I was drawn to the teachers that spent time connecting with me and actually showed that they cared about me as a person. The teacher that asked me how the game went the night before, the teacher that would joke back and forth with me, and even the teacher that would challenge me to work harder or to make better decisions was the teacher I wanted to be around. I had a business teacher who helped “keep me on the right path” my junior year in high school. She was able to provide guidance that even my parents weren’t able to provide at the time. I’m not sure where I’d be today if I didn’t have that teacher “invest” in a relationship with me.
I became a teacher because I wanted to make a positive impact on students. I wanted to make a difference for a child much like a teacher made a difference in my life. I enjoyed twelve years in the classroom as a teacher. Looking back on that part of my career, I remember my co-workers and the students I connected with not the individual lessons I taught. Those don’t stick out to me, but I do remember thinking, this profession is changing, and it’s changing quickly.
Six years later, there is a nation-wide teacher shortage. Here in Minneota, we finally feel that pain. We have no applicants for an open English position and no applicants for high school counselor. We are three weeks from the summer of 2019, and for the first time in my tenure, we may enter the summer with unfilled positions. I can remember when I was doing my admin internship sorting through 40+ applicants for an open social studies position. Those days are gone.
Why is there a nation-wide shortage? I believe It’s hard to be a teacher in 2019. Students are addicted to their phones and many forms of social media, making them harder to entertain/engage in a lesson. For many reasons, student apathy is very strong. Did you know that we have 46 students in grades 7-12 who are on our academic ineligibility list? We offer ICU for grades 7-9, re-takes on most assessments, and have an aggressive academic policy that formally checks grades every three weeks and still, for those students...apathy is winning. There are many other factors making this profession harder than ever before, but I won’t get into those because I want this to be about hard-working teachers and the challenges they face.
I salute our teachers of Minneota High and all teachers who are doing it well for this generation of students. As a parent, when is the last time you’ve said “thank you” to your child’s teacher? If you have a child in elementary school, have you ever realized that there is a good chance that your child’s teacher probably spends more hours (awake and interacting) of the day with your child than you do? It’s crazy to think, but in many cases, it’s a fact! Parenting is the undisputed #1 job in terms of shaping a child’s life. However, teachers own the #1A spot in terms of shaping a child’s life. Teachers play such an important role in a child’s life, and yet they are quick to get blasted in an e-mail and rarely given a sincere “thank you” for the good work they do! Parents, consider taking some time to “thank” a teacher for not only providing your child a quality education but for providing mentoring, friendship, and even parenting here at school.
Teachers of Minneota High; you are consistently meeting and exceeding the high expectations set forth by your administration and school board! Many of you are revolutionizing the way you teach to offer a better, more modern lesson for our students. Many of you spend your own money on things for your classroom for other people’s children. Many of you lie awake at night worrying about your students. Many of you give your best patience to your students vs. your own children at home. Some of you are going back to college to get a master’s degree so that you can offer more college classes for our students. I know that teachers, in general, are underpaid and underappreciated by society. I know that the profession seems to be getting harder each year. I also know that you are making an impact on students. Your guidance, your advice, and your mentoring IS having an impact! You are already elite and yet you strive to be better still, for your students! I’m proud to be your principal, and I’m proud that my daughter gets to be shaped and impacted by professionals like you!
Parents, please THANK a teacher, thank them all for it’s a hard job and an extremely important one!