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High-Quality Teachers ARE the Reality

Too often we hear negative stories about education and teachers. In reality, the vast majority of teachers make a positive difference in our kids’ lives every day and should be recognized. National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 7-11) is the ideal time to celebrate the dedicated professionals who educate our children and enrich our communities.

As an Illinois State Representative, chair of the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee, staunch education advocate and, most importantly, a parent of two children, I see firsthand the immeasurable value of the work teachers do and the impact it has on us all.

Just think about it. Educators dedicate themselves each day to helping young people develop the skills and knowledge they need to have positive, rewarding lives. Teachers prepare our children to think critically, to resolve conflict, to innovate and to lead us all to a more promising future.

They don’t do this for the pay (which is sometimes meager) or the praise (which they rarely receive). They teach because they love it. Teachers teach because they believe that every student is special and can reach their own greatest potential. They teach to make a difference.
Teaching is not a job, it’s a passion. That’s why teachers so often pay for school supplies with their own money, devote time after school to students who need additional attention, volunteer at school events and grade papers and create lesson plans in the evening, on the weekends and during the summer.

I know I would not be doing the work I love today had it not been for my teachers. Think back to your own school days. I’m sure you will remember many teachers who did much more than teach you reading, writing and math – they nurtured you, inspired you and believed in you.

So during National Teacher Appreciation Week and every day, please take time to remember that high-quality teachers ARE the reality. Send an e-mail, make a phone call, or stop by your neighborhood school to simply say “thank you” to the teachers who are making a difference every day in the lives of our children and in our communities.

State Rep. Linda Chapa-LaVia


Illinois Kids First Press Center