Good teachers will always be needed

Re-post of A May 1-7 National Teacher's Week editorial by State Superintendent Tony Evers

The first week of May is national Teacher Appreciation Week. This year, like no other since the week's beginning in 1984 under the sponsorship of the National Parent Teacher Association, Wisconsin teachers truly need to know they are appreciated for the devotion they show to educating our children.

Teacher bargaining rights are a major part of the political firestorm that has gripped our state. Regardless of your stand on the issues, I think we can all agree that our elementary and secondary school teachers have one of the most important places in our society for the work they do helping our students learn. I know without my teachers back in Plymouth, Wisconsin, I would not be where I am today.

The decision to choose teaching as a career is as varied as the individual. Yet, licensed public school teachers in Wisconsin have a common background. All have a college degree with a major or minor in the subject they teach. To get a license, prospective teachers must pass a content test; complete a professional program at an accredited college, university, or alternative program; spend semesters observing classrooms and practice teaching; and meet other requirements. Teaching is among the professions that require continuing education, and the educators I know seek out professional development so they can continue to meet the ever-changing needs of their students.

Teaching requires skill, compassion, and a true love of children; some say it is a calling. Teachers have the capacity to change the life of a child. They listen when a child needs to be heard, challenge when a student needs to work harder or change direction, and delight when the class masters a new concept. They are partners with the child's parents and the local community in helping our young people grow and develop.

During Teacher Appreciation Week, May 1-7, I encourage all Wisconsin citizens to acknowledge the need for quality educators. We want and need good teachers in our schools.

Tony Evers is the elected state superintendent of public instruction.

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