Saturday, August 12, 2017

Inspiration Has No Expiration Date: Why We Celebrate The Start of Every School Year #imagesofed

This week I had the privilege of attending several back to school celebrations in districts throughout our great state of South Carolina. It was truly an honor to be a part of the joy, excitement, and fun as we celebrated the start of a new school year. I noticed an interesting common theme too. In every school district I visited, I saw and more importantly, I felt the dedication, commitment, positive energy, enthusiasm, joy, and excitment of teachers and educators who have the heart for this work and are ready to work as hard as they have and need to in order to change the lives of young people. We celebrate the start of the school year, because we know that inspiration has no expiration date. It is something we all need and we need it everyday.

I'm determined this year to not let that inspiration expire. I will keep this feeling of excitement and education going by honoring those who do this work. This year, I am ready to do my part to elevate our noble profession, which I've had the opportunity to be a part of for nearly 20 years. We have a tendency as educators to blend in the background, to let others speak for us, to keep our heads down and our hands steady, doing the work quietly.

We need to do things differently.

We need to be the authors of our own narrative. We need to tell our own stories. We need to invite others to see what it is we are doing, the commitments educators are making, the sacrifices educators make daily, the hours, that extend far beyond the last bell of the school day, that educators are putting in to make education a quality and effective experience for the children we serve.

We need to elevate our profession, by demanding respect for it in our words and in our work.

We are in a powerful and noble profession. We have the power to change lives and for some reason, lots of the folks who are telling our stories aren't the ones who are writing it.

We have to change that. We have to change it NOW.

There are teachers shortages all across this country. There are more vacancies than there are teachers available. There are fewer students choosing education as their field of study. We need great teachers and we need them NOW. We need people, in and outside of the profession, to understand that our work is hard, heart work. It is work that changes obstacles to opportunities. It is works that makes what seemed impossible, possible. It is work that turns potential into reality. It is work that improves the quality of life for others. It is work that matters-for everyone. WE all benefit from every child receiving a quality education. It needs to be seen as such, treated as such, and respected as such.

Because our work is so hard, and difficult, we must never underestimate the need for inspiration. We are educating students by giving them the knowledge, skills, and experiences they need to thrive in a changing world, but we are also developing human beings who we all share a common future with-who could be the EMS worker who rescues you from a car accident, who could be the firefighter who responds to your call, who could be the CNA who brings you your medicine in the nursing home, who could be the doctor who performs your surgery, or the lawyer who represents you in the courtroom, or the bus driver of your grandchildren, or the cashier at the checkout. We are critical in the development of this world's future. We must not forget that, and we cannot allow others to treat our work with any less respect than it deserves.

We are educators. We change lives.

Every time I interact with a great teacher this school year, I am going to make it known. I'll share it on Twitter, on this blog, on my website #leadershipwithlatoya, in every platform I have because I want everyone to know why our profession is honorable and needs to be elevated. My challenge to educators and non-educators everywhere is this:

Join me in ELEVATING the teaching profession NOW. 

Let's make a commitment to not allow that beginning of year inspiration we always feel expire by telling our own stories, inviting others to see the work we are doing, sharing what it means to be an educator and letting others know they'd be more than lucky to be a part of such an honorable and noble profession.

We'll use the hashtag #imagesofed to show the world that we are doing great, courageous, honorable, hard, heart work because our children our counting on us-all of us- to help them change their lives.

I don't know about you, but I'm excited!

Until next time, be you, be true, be a hope builder!


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