During this year’s American Education Week, Nov 11-17, I want to take a moment to thank each of you for the work you are doing to ensure that the children of West Virginia receive a world- class education.
Research tells us that you are the single most important factor in how much a child learns at school. Your role in the classroom is ever more critical as we work to implement our 21st Century Learning initiative. As a teacher today, you must do more than teach basic skills. You nurture and inspire children despite obstacles. You help students learn essential skills not always measured in testing, such as higher level thinking skills, conflict resolution, information and communications technology literacy skills and life skills, no matter their future plans. Your quality teaching pushes students beyond mastery of basic skills to become tomorrow’s better educated worker, who can manage complexity, solve problems and think critically.
Evidence of student success may not be revealed until years after your students leave the classroom. Your charge is not just to ensure that your students can live in the world as it is, but to ensure that they have the skills, knowledge, and dispositions that will enable them to succeed in the world that awaits them. Your challenge is to help sudents create their own visions for a better future in the 21st century. Thank you for your daily efforts to meet this challenge.
As a former teacher, I know first-hand the challenges you face in the classroom on a daily basis. Likewise, I firmly believe all of us, no matter the role we assume, have an obligation to prepare students with the skills they will need to compete and succeed in this global society.
I applaud you for your commitment and the work you have done to advance our 21st century journey. The days are long and the work is very hard, and I encourage you to find ways to support each other and to respect each other’s work.