Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Thank a Teacher

Ah...Teacher Appreciation Week. This year we're observing it in Howard County by honoring the essence of the art of teaching by scheduling PARCC testing, AP testing, and, just for good measure, the SAT on Saturday. I'm sure they'll feel truly appreciated.Yesterday the Superintendent, or someone in her army of public relations professionals, posted the following on Twitter:
As I pondered the irony of this, a rather unusual thing happened. This response popped up:

@SuperHCPSS how about by not threatening furloughs if budget isn't approved?

Well, that's to the point, I thought. And then, another response:

@SuperHCPSS thank a teacher: take a paycut & they can have better healthcare.

Wow. These were from two separate individuals. And then, for the next half hour, the tweets kept coming, from three different, distinct accounts.

@SuperHCPSS #thankateacher - perhaps give up that fancy car and use that money so they don't have to buy school supplies out of pocket.

@SuperHCPSS - #thankateacher by not calling them greedy when they ask for a step increase (remember 2014?).

@SuperHCPSS #thankateacher by respecting their skills and assessments over metrics and testing.

@SuperHCPSS #thankateacher by respecting parents who advocate on their behalf.

@SuperHCPSS #thankateacher by allowing them to speak, instead of issuing edicts calling free
speech on their time #insubordination.

@SuperHCPSS #thankateacher by providing them environments of respect in their workplaces.

@SuperHCPSS #thankateacher by providing transparency and accountability of your actions 
to those you serve.

One characteristic all three tweeters share: they're all Howard County parents. (For clarification, I am not one of them, but you can verify that for yourself.)

Teacher Appreciation week is full of little gifts, kind notes, special events and meals put on by the PTA. And all of that is genuine on the part of parents and gratefully received by teachers. But these pointedly honest statements represent a new kind of teacher appreciation which, in my opinion, give this week a whole new meaning.

The Superintendent uses a catchy hashtag: teachers are #YourBestApp . I have no earthly idea what that means. I would suggest a different hashtag this year: #HoCoParentsHaveYourBack . Here's my tweet:

Thanks to my daughter's #HCPSS teachers who meet her where she is & inspire her to be her best. #ThankATeacher #HoCoParentsHaveYourBack

We appreciate teachers this week, every week, and especially on Election Day. I hope that next year's Teacher Appreciation Week is even better than this one.

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