May 4-8 is Teacher Appreciation Week and I would like share my appreciation for the teachers across the Oostburg School District for making our District unique. We are unique in having unusual levels of student achievement, ranking #1 out of all area schools on the most recent state report cards. We are unique in having tremendous extracurricular programming which consistently performs at measurably high levels, and I believe we are unique in our ability to blend tradition with growth and improvement focused on fulfilling our mission to ensure all students graduate ready to be positive and productive contributors to society and the world.
Our unique qualities don’t happen by accident. They occur in large part due to the expertise and commitment of our teachers. Visible Learning, John Hattie’s ground-breaking work on education research, lists teacher credibility as one of the top influences on student achievement. According to Hattie, “Teacher credibility is vital to learning, and students are very perceptive about knowing which teachers can make a difference. There are four key factors of credibility: trust, competence, dynamism and immediacy.” (http://visible-learning.org/glossary/#4_Teacher_credibility). Hattie emphasizes that, “If a teacher is not perceived as credible, the students just turn off.”
We are blessed to have teachers who have earned their credibility largely by modeling the learning they expect from their students. A few of the areas which stand out to me include the large amount of reading our teachers do and the education-focused professional learning networks in which they participate. It is fair to say that for many of our teachers, teaching is not only what they do, it is a large part of who they are. When teachers love to learn, grow, and improve, they provide an example which builds the credibility Hattie talks about in his research.
As we approach Teacher Appreciation Week I encourage you to join me in thanking our teachers for the investment they make in our children. The power of a short note of appreciation or even the traditional “apple for the teacher” can go a long way in letting our teachers know how much we value their work. In case the note or apple don’t work for you the following link provides some additional thank you options: http://teaching.about.com/od/ParentalInvolvement/fl/Twenty-Five-Ways-to-Say-Thank-You-to-Teachers.htm
Make this a great day!