By Carolyn Crowder, TEA Executive Director
In honor of Valentine’s Day this week, I have been thinking of the many groups of people who have made me love being an educator and association leader.
To students: You are the reason we are all here. You are the calling that brought me into education many years ago. My love for my students and the opportunity to share my love of music with them formed the foundation of my entire professional career.
To TEA members: You are my people. You share not only my love for students and public education, but the passion and desire to do more than just show up for work every day. Your willingness to find time in your already too-busy lives to stand up for your students and this profession inspires me. I treasure the opportunity to stand should-to-shoulder with you to fight the good fight for great public schools.
To teachers and professors: From Pre-K to higher education, you are the expert in the classroom every day. It is evident in the long hours you put in how much you love your students and are committed to preparing them with the knowledge and tools needed to succeed at the next level.
To education support professionals: Many of you are the first face a child sees outside of their home each morning. You support students and your fellow educators in often overlooked ways. I see you and I appreciate your dedication to Tennessee students. Your work transporting students safely, maintaining our beautiful schools, keeping our offices running smoothly and working in partnership with teachers creates the ideal learning environment for students.
To administrators: After several years as an executive director, I have an even deeper love for you and the work that you do. It is no easy task to be a leader, and the stress only multiplies when the stakes are so high. Thank you to those who trust and empower their teachers to do their jobs. Thank you to those of you who serve as the first line of defense between bad policy decisions at the state and local level, and your faculty and students. Your commitment to leading in the best interest of students and educators sets the culture and environment of the entire school building.
To parents: Academic success isn’t limited to the classroom. You play a vital role in ensuring students are ready to learn each day and then reinforcing at home what they have learned at school. I know you struggle just as educators do to find enough time in the day. I admire the sacrifices you make to provide for your children and set them up for future success.
Creating and supporting great public schools requires the love and commitment of so many different groups. It is tough work. We need to lift each other up and encourage one another to keep going. On Valentine’s Day this week, I challenge you to tell your colleagues, your students’ parents or other public education advocates how much you appreciate their commitment to helping our kids succeed.