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VIEWPOINT: Delaware Teachers Deserve Continuous Appreciation

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Each May during National Teacher Appreciation Week, Delaware takes a moment to honor and celebrate the incredible contributions of educators across the state. Businesses offer teacher specials. School administrations and parent teacher organizations provide lunches. Students and families show their thanks with notes or small gifts. Elected leaders recognize the profession. All aim to honor the profound impact educators have on shaping our students and their future. The truth is our teachers deserve a high level of appreciation all year long.

Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Holodick

Teachers are our country’s quiet heroes who expand young minds, inspire creativity, and instill a love for learning. They dedicate countless hours to planning lessons, grading assignments, and providing individualized support to their students. Their impact extends far beyond the walls of the classroom too, influencing countless lives and families through non-academic support as well. And teachers juggle all sorts of additional responsibilities as well supporting the safety and success of their school communities. Really, teacher appreciation should be the most consistent part of their professional lives.

For the first time ever, The White House hosted a State Dinner this year for the State Teacher of the Year honorees. The White House State Dinner is one of the most prestigious events in our country, usually reserved for visiting foreign leaders. 2024 Delaware State Teacher of the Year Cory Hafer represented the First State at this special night. According to U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, the Biden administration honored our teachers “with a level of national respect that is long overdue.”

I agree. When teachers feel valued and respected, they are more likely to stay in the profession. They report increased job satisfaction, higher morale, and are more engaged in their work. One of the highlights for me each May is reading the notes families and colleagues send into the department to thank their educators. Please take a few moments to read these shout out son the department’s social media channels. You will read about Milford’s Lulu Ross Elementary School teacher Maya Guthrie who one grandmother said, “is the most compassionate and heartfelt teacher I’ve ever met.” You will hear about Caesar Rodney’s David E. Robinson Elementary School teachers Mr. Tappin and Miss Baker who were thanked for helping a student new to the state: “You welcomed him and never gave up on him. You saw potential in him, and I’m forever grateful for what you guys do. I appreciate you.” And there are so many more.

Year-long teacher appreciation does not need to be limited to grand gestures and formal events. I encourage us all to show appreciation for teachers throughout the year with such heartfelt thank-you notes, small tokens, and kind words of encouragement. When we truly recognize the daily sacrifices and the passion that teachers bring to their work, and in the face of challenges, we continue to invest in our teachers as well as the future of our students and our state.

Written by Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Holodick.

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