In recognition of the important work teachers do—and the particular challenges the pandemic has presented for the profession—the State Board of Education and governor’s office invited CEA President Kate Dias, AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel, and 2022 Connecticut Teacher of the Year Kim King to attend a special acknowledgement of Teacher Appreciation Week, celebrated annually during the first week of May.
“You are representatives of the very best that happens in our classrooms and the work that is done for our students,” said Education Commissioner Charlene Russell Tucker who, together with representatives of the SBE, presented a formal resolution acknowledging all of Connecticut’s teachers.
The resolution read as follows:
“Whereas teachers continue to go above and beyond during the pandemic to ensure continuity of education for their students in addition to keeping students engaged and connected to their school communities; and
Whereas teachers work to provide a safe, nurturing educational environment that ensures the best possible outcomes for all students; and
Whereas teachers take pride in their profession and are dedicated to supporting their students, families, and school communities; and
Whereas teachers continue to both lead and utilize professional learning to stay current with effective strategies to meet the needs of students
Now therefore be it resolved that the State Board of Education extends its gratitude and appreciation to all Connecticut teachers for their dedication and service to the students and families of the state of Connecticut.”
In a written statement proclaiming May 2-6 Teacher Appreciation Week, the governor described the essential role teachers play in shaping children into engaged, civic-minded adults, and he thanked educators for “their dedicated efforts to ensure our children learn the knowledge and skills to be successful in college, careers, and life,” adding, “Connecticut teachers are vital in building the future. Because of the pandemic and evolving education requirements, teachers must be constantly learning so that they may adapt to meet the ever-changing needs of young people in our schools. There are thousands of teachers putting in countless hours and extra effort to help students achieve, and the teaching profession benefits from educators who have been empowered to lead within and beyond the classroom.”
“Anytime teachers can be celebrated and the profession elevated, it means a lot to me and to all of the teachers I represent in Connecticut,” said King, who recently returned from Washington, D.C., where she and other state Teachers of the Year were honored by President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.
“So much of what we do in the classroom is unseen,” she said, “so it’s wonderful anytime we can shine a spotlight on the hard work and commitment that teachers show.”
“The last two years have taken an incredible toll on our teachers, personally,” said Dias. “Teachers have given of their family time to be there for other people’s children, and that level of dedication is worth noting. It’s also worth asking what we can do to continue to support and grow this profession, because that’s the next most pivotal issue.”
Hochadel emphasized this last point when she recalled recent visits that she, Dias, and the governor made to high school classrooms.
“When the governor asked, ‘How many of you want to be teachers?’ no hands went up,” she recalled. “Students realize the stress teachers have been under the last two years—and the fact that it’s still there.”
“This has been an incredibly difficult time,” Dias agreed. “Anytime we are able to elevate the profession and hold up the people who show up every day for our children, who show up every day for our communities, it’s important.”