Tuesday, May 3, 2011

President Obama Honors State and National Teachers of the Year

In a ceremony outside the White House this morning, President Obama honored the National Teacher of the Year, Michelle Shearer, and the State Teachers of the Year. In honor of National Teacher Appreciation Day, we thought we would share some of the president’s comments and highlight a few of the characteristics that we can all honor in the teachers around us:

“What people I think don’t realize is just how much work and how much sacrifice it takes to make that connection. My sister is a teacher, and so I’ve had the occasion of just watching her preparing lesson plans and then going out of her way to call that student who she thinks has potential but is slipping away, and working with parents who maybe don’t know how to support their kids. And it’s tiring work, but how incredibly gratifying it must be.”

“Because in the end, the most effective teachers are the ones who are constantly striving to get better and help their students get better. Those teachers who stay up late grading papers. The teachers who give up their afternoons and free periods to give that student a little bit of extra one-on-one help, and spend evenings and weekends developing lesson plans and activities that don’t just teach the material, but make it come alive. And the teachers who see the potential in students even when the students themselves don’t see that potential.”

“In the words of one of my favorite poets, William Butler Yeats, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” Teachers here today, and thousands like them, are surrounded every day by young people who will shape our future. But it takes a special person to recognize that. It takes a special person to light that fire, to raise our children’s expectations for themselves, and never give up on them no matter how challenging it might be.”
In addition to the president’s comments, Michelle Shearer affirmed the positive and necessary impact teachers can have on their students in the classroom when she said, “My students will tell you that I love to give pep talks, and Friday was their last one before their AP chemistry exam. And among other things, I said, you are problem-solvers. No matter how challenging the questions, have confidence, forge ahead, and make progress toward solutions.”

“Likewise in education, no matter how challenging the issues, we must be problem-solvers. And as we continue to debate ideas, allocate resources, and implement change, we must make progress in a positive direction and always -- always -- see the faces of our students.”

To read the full transcript from the ceremony Click Here

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