Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I’m a Teacher. What’s your Superpower?! - Lily's Blackboard

I’m a Teacher. What’s your Superpower?! - Lily's Blackboard:

I’m a Teacher. What’s your Superpower?!


I love seeing bumper stickers in praise of teachers.
• Teachers Rule.
• Those who can, TEACH. Those who cannot, pass laws about teaching.
• Teachers have class.
• Teachers make all other occupations possible.
• You can’t scare me, I’m a teacher.
• And one of my favorites, a quote from Frederick Douglass, “It’s easier to build strong children than repair broken men.”
At one time or another, I’ve seen all of these bumper stickers, proudly displayed on cars, professing mad respect and love for teachers. Despite how we sometimes feel under attack and not well supported as educators, the truth is, the public—parents, our students, former students, community leaders—most people love us.
I know the negative media coverage about education can sometimes be disheartening. Pension cuts. Slashed education budgets. Tests, tests, and more tests that don’t help students learn. It’s easy to feel attacked and not appreciated.
For every negative example the media throws our way, we hit back with countless positive examples of teachers and education support professionals going the extra mile to help a child read and write, in order to forge a better path for the future. There are stories of the teacher or counselor who made a big difference that monumentally changed the direction of someone’s life. The lunch lady who saves a child with the Heimlich maneuver. The coach who sees something in a student no one else can see. Movie studios have made millions of dollars from movies that depict these very teachers.
And still, every once in a while, we hear a story that stops us completely in our tracks.
The 2015 National Teacher of the Year is Shanna Peeples, a high school English teacher from Amarillo, Texas. She recently shared her story with us at our Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly in Orlando Florida. Shanna shared her story and we cried, cheered, stood up a little taller and beamed with pride because she’s one of us—an NEA member.
For Shanna Peeples, things weren’t so easy for her as a young child growing up in Texas. She endured more challenges in her young life than some people face over an entire lifetime. Yet, she never let those obstacles stand in the way of her dreams. If you ask her, she will say that she was fortunate to have teachers along the way who encouraged her. These teachers, acting selflessly and perhaps even unknowingly, gave Shanna the tools she needed to become a teacher herself—one who would be recognized by the President of United States for her excellence.
We were so privileged and humbled to have Shanna share her story. Her inspirational, leave-no-stone-unturned message resonated with all of us because we know the sacrifices we make as educators to help ensure that our students are prepared to realize their dreams. Her deeply personal and moving story certainly made me stop and reflect on all she had to overcome to reach this impressive career milestone.
Now that the Representative Assembly is in our rear view mirror and we’re getting ready for back to school, I’ve had I’m a Teacher. What’s your Superpower?! - Lily's Blackboard: