Dear Teachers,

Have you thought about what makes a tree grow? Sunshine, fresh air, water, and nutrients from the soil. The same elements help our students grow: classrooms filled with joy, spaces for new thinking and new ideas, opportunities to solve problems in safe school communities, and of course, a supportive and healthy foundation to support their efforts.

As teachers, New York City counts on you to guide the learning and growth of our 1.1 million students every day. Each morning you and 75,000 of your colleagues wake up to your alarms, gather your notes and your lesson plans, and summon your creativity and your knowledge. Perhaps you also send your own children off to school. Then you open the door to your school buildings, walk down quiet hallways, turn on the lights in your classrooms, and create environments where your students can thrive.

What does it take to bring your energy, drive, and spark every day? It takes dedication and commitment. And it takes pride in your students, pride in your school community, and pride in yourself. It takes living the courage of your convictions every day. As a classroom teacher for over 20 years, I know it takes a strong person to create that environment for our students. You are their guide, their motivator, and their spark. You are their teacher.

Today, and every day, I thank you for your work to create equity and excellence for all our students, and putting them on the path to their dreams. I thank you for providing environments for them to grow in, for opening the doors of your classrooms to fresh air and new thinking, and for being their sunshine. I applaud you for bringing your gifts and your energy to your classrooms every day.

With gratitude,

Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher Appreciation Week (May 8-12, 2017) is an opportunity to highlight stories of teachers who are making a positive difference in the lives of NYC children, families and communities. With our #ThankATeacherNYC campaign we want to hear about the teachers who made a difference in your life, or the ones you have observed making a difference in the lives of your children or neighbors.

Posted by Carmen Fariña

Former Chancellor of NYC Schools, lifelong educator, native Brooklynite, and proud abuela.