BY MSTA PRESIDENT NICOLAS VASQUEZ
In January, my wife, Kate, and I were honored to attend the 100th General Assembly Legislative Ball at the Missouri State Capitol. We thoroughly enjoyed the pomp and circumstance and the celebration to the start of a new session. Throughout the evening, legislators and their families were recognized for their commitment to public service.
In May, schools and communities across our nation will recognize and honor teachers for their tireless efforts to do what’s best for students. From rural towns to big cities and everything in between, teachers have one of the most gratifying and fulfilling jobs – shaping and changing lives. It is my prayer that your students, schools and communities take the opportunity to celebrate and thank you for the numerous roles you play in supporting students and strengthening the future of our nation.
We’ve all experienced the long hours and hard work necessary for creating lesson plans, teaching those lessons, and providing feedback to our students. Let’s not forget building relationships with parents and families, serving on committees, collaborating with colleagues, reflecting on our instruction, and continually researching and implementing best practices.
Teachers are the masters of maximizing the intangible – we are not merely pouring learning into minds, we are lighting a fire for life.
In the hectic pace of a school day, we make sure to recognize the potential in every student who walks through our door even though he may lack the awareness to recognize his own gifts. We take the time to notice and help the children who sit quietly, hoping not to be noticed, because their world has fallen apart at home. There are times we offer a listening ear to the student who has no place to call home, who lacks the support needed to reach beyond themselves, or who simply hasn’t found her way yet.
As if that isn’t enough, we feed hungry children, check in with students that are chronically absent, and take the steps necessary to create a classroom environment that is a safe community bursting with learning and joy. As educators we consider it our responsibility to recognize the God-given beauty of every child. We value their individual skill sets that pave the way for each of them to experience authentic learning that will navigate them toward realizing their true potential.
Thank you for sharing your passion for world languages, music, literature, math, science, theater, history, and countless other subjects with your students. Thank you for providing students with the character traits that will be a part of their daily decision-making. Thank you for modeling honesty, patience, perseverance, wisdom, responsibility, kindness, and a commitment to cultivating curiosity in your classroom. Thank you for inspiring lifelong learners, motivating students to become productive citizens that actively participate in their communities. Thank you for giving students the opportunity to make choices that provide them limitless options for their life paths and careers.
Most of all, thank you for choosing to be a champion for public education and giving your best efforts to prepare Missouri’s students for the incredible opportunities and achievements that will make their dreams become reality.
Peace. Love. Happiness.