On the same day a majority of the Tucson Unified School District governing board — Adelita Grijalva, Kristel Foster and Mark Stegeman — voted to RIF more than 160 teachers, librarians and support staff to help close in on the district's $17 million deficit, teachers got a nice love note from Superintendent John Pedicone via email.
Maybe free bottles of Bactine would have been better—at least it says on the package that it won't sting:
From: Bynum, Karen On Behalf Of Pedicone, John
Sent: Tuesday, May 07, 2013 1:30 PM
Subject: Letter to Staff 05.07.13
John J. Pedicone, Ph.D.
May 7, 2013
Dear Faculty and Staff:
This letter is constructed out of respect for those who do the work that the rest of us support…the 3000 classroom teachers who serve our children in Tucson Unified School District. Today is identified as Teacher Appreciation Day. I do not know who makes these days up or why today, of all days, has been chosen for this recognition, but I will go with it because it does give us a chance to honor each of you who opens your hearts and minds to children from three to 22 in our schools and classrooms.
I went on-line to read what some have said about teachers, just to see if what I feel has been said before and how people tend to view the role of the teacher. I am sure most of you have read this statement:
“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” - Henry Adams
Obviously, this was written at a time when to use the general reference “he” was accepted. While that convention might have changed, arguably the sentiments are still accurate.
Another somewhat more esoteric expression was penned by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in Turkish and roughly translated as:
“A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others.”
Unfortunately, based on the way Arizona funds teachers’ salaries, this statement takes on more than just the intended meaning.
I came across a quote which was undoubtedly written by a teacher somewhere in America probably during the month of April or early May who simply stated:
“When all else fails, pray for a fire drill.” - Author Unknown
Any further commentary is probably unnecessary.
Then I happened across this description that I feel hits the mark a bit more directly:
“If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn't want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher's job.” ~Donald D. Quinn
Well, the list of quotes goes on and the meaning behind them is clear. When anyone takes the time to consider the work that you do and the lives that you touch each day; when anyone visits a kindergarten or first grade classroom and watches the magic that takes place by looking into the eyes of the children whose trust and hope, joy and innocence are given focus by a teacher who cherishes the reality that she holds so much of their futures in her hands; and when one takes the time to go to a graduation ceremony and see that same 5 year-old at eighteen, knowing that they are who they are because along the way you demanded that the hope they held at five became the power they possess at eighteen, no words can truly express how much you mean to so many. So, rather than struggle for other ways to describe the deep regard I have for you and the work you do, I will simply say:
"Delivering Excellence in Education Every Day"