Durango School District 9-R is fortunate to have one of the highest quality staffs I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with.
I am still of the belief that we as a society must recognize and honor those who choose this important profession – education. Who else shapes the future of our world in a greater way than the very people who interact with our students every day. Their tireless efforts to engage students, share knowledge and build mastery are only accomplished after hard work and deep commitment – way beyond the typical work day.
Public education is undergoing major transformation mandated by federal and state initiatives. The level of stress placed on our teachers is great, but, as I often tell our staff members – we are engaged in the most important work of our time. While new mandates often bring new challenges and new stresses, with billions of dollars spent on public education in Colorado, we should expect some level of accountability. While we know we are engaged in the right work, major change certainly is challenging all of us. It’s not unusual in the midst of change that negative communication reaches members of our community.
Today, teachers face huge challenges. They shape the lives of each and every student they come in contact with. Their job doesn’t end at 3:30 p.m. or 4 p.m. as many often think. They take home lots of work, assignments to grade and data to analyze to make sure they make the right adjustments to meet students’ needs the next day.
The days of teaching the same thing for 30 consecutive years is long gone. Let’s not forget the additional roles of coach, adviser and extracurricular sponsor so many teachers play on top of their responsibilities. They also shoulder burdens shared with them by their students. A day does not pass when teachers don’t have students on their minds and worry about the choices they make.
In most countries, teachers are held in high esteem. The respect extended to them is great and the honor that comes with the position is well-deserved. I worry that we, in this country, have lost sight of the importance of this role. We are quick to criticize these professionals when their humanity shows and mistakes are made. Our media regularly covers indiscretions of a small number and misses the celebration of the majority who give their heart and soul to their students. I’m sure we can all recall teachers who made a big impact in our lives.
I call on our community to help me in thanking the dedicated teachers and support staff members who work in all of our educational institutions. It is becoming harder and harder to fill positions as expectations increase. Making teachers a celebrated entity in Durango will help us in ensuring that we attract and retain the best and brightest.
Our kids deserve them, and we all play a major role in elevating them to the rightful place of honor they so deserve!
DSnowberger@durango.k12.co.us. Dan Snowberger is the superintendent of the Durango School District.