Friday, May 3, 2019

Celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week

A column by Interim Secretary of Education Dr. Ben Jones

In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, I want to thank South Dakota teachers for your hard work and devotion to students.

I’ve had the opportunity in recent weeks to visit several schools and classrooms across our state.

In a discussion with Mitchell students, a fifth grader defined leadership as “when you make the people around you better.

If that doesn’t define teaching, I don’t know what does. With our school system producing insightful fifth graders like that, you’re doing great things.

In South Dakota teachers, I see dedicated professionals pushing their students to achieve high standards in reading, writing, and math, so that they will learn how to think, not what to think.

You know that students must graduate from the K-12 system ready for college, career, and life. You know that a career is the means to a good life, but it won’t teach what a good life means, so you push your students to achieve high standards in civics, literature, fine arts, athletics, and in appreciating our environment.

You recognize that your students have different talents and skills and seek to develop all of them in the way they should go for South Dakota’s common good.

You value students’ many cultures and shared future.

I also had the opportunity recently to attend the first Educators Rising conference in South Dakota. Educators Rising is an organization for students interested in pursuing teaching careers.

The students in attendance got to hear from several speakers about the education field, and their enthusiasm was palpable.

Your profession is honorable, and the next generation of educators comes into your classroom every day. Encourage them to follow in your footsteps.