There is no doubt we are surrounded by heroes. Healthcare workers, first responders and those maintaining the food supply have indeed been helping to keep us safe and healthy, and have been quite literally saving lives. Quilters sewing masks and community volunteers delivering groceries to neighbors also dedicate selfless hours to promote the common good. This month brings an occasion to celebrate other heroes: teachers. Teacher Appreciation Month is celebrated around the world and every year students write cards; principals hold a school-wide assembly, or the PTA/PTO might drop off food and flowers for the Teachers’ Lounge. This year is going to be quite different.
What teachers have done since the beginning of 2020 is truly heroic. Sprinting along at the intersection of innovation and exhaustion, teachers have figured out how to inhabit an entirely new learnscape. Many of our colleagues around the world have been teaching themselves not just new skills but entirely new platforms, literally overnight, to keep students engaged online. Some educators have also taken on the bittersweet task of homeschooling their own children while caring for their students in virtual school. Others have become de-facto dorm parents, with our college students back home: adults who now seem too large for their childhood bedrooms.
And throughout all of this, teachers focused on what they can do. Educators have taken the time to generously share what they are learning with colleagues around the world. It may not be perfect, but as a global education community we are learning by doing, and it has transformed us. So now, as some schools are just heading online and others beginning to reopen, let us take a moment to celebrate heroes during Teacher Appreciation Month.
On behalf of students and parents around the world, thank you teachers.
Jon Nordmeyer, WIDA International Programs Director
*Turkish: literally “health to your hands” - used to thank the cook for preparing a meal or someone else, like a teacher, who has produced something wonderful with his or her hands