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Teacher Appreciation Week

The first full week in May each year is designated as “Teacher Appreciation Week.” Educating children, especially those in public kindergarten through twelfth grade, is often met with daily challenges unknown to those outside the classroom.

Current state and federal trends are to place students into numerous statistical categories. The State of Virginia reports seven racial categories — American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black not of Hispanic origin, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Non-Hispanic two or more races, and White not of Hispanic origin. Other categories reported are disadvantaged, foster care, homeless, migrant, military connected, English learners (formerly English as a second language), and disabled. This second category has federal funding implications.

Many of the problems teachers face relate to laws passed by federal and state legislators who have not been in a classroom since their high school days, and most rarely have spoken to teachers or asked their opinions.

Classroom teachers do not see a student in terms of a specific racial category or otherwise. They see every student as a unique individual with skills, strengths and challenges. A teacher’s goal for every student is to build on student strengths, identify challenges, and provide support to those students who need that additional assistance. Classroom teachers working in concert with counsellors and administrators at the school level work wonders each and every day to meet these challenges.

So, please pass along a hardy “thank you” to a teacher this week!

Robert N. Holt

Franklin