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Our children’s schoolteachers deserve thanks

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“As I watched the news this past weekend about the tragedy in Connecticut, I couldn’t help to see the similarities with our school and couldn’t imagine if that happened to us. To see that happen to these precious kids breaks my heart. I think many times teachers go unappreciated for what they do for our kids. As I have been involved as a volunteer these past two years, I see how you are with the kids. You do an amazing job, and I just wanted to thank you for everything you do. It’s people like you who make our school such a great little school for all the students! And thank you for allowing me to be a part of it.” -John

This is a note a local teacher received Monday morning from a parent of an elementary student in her school. It could have been sent to thousands of teachers in all the schools in the north country.

It confirms what parents believe about their schools and teachers — they do an amazing job every day with a wide variety of students and without a great deal of resources. And too often they go unappreciated — we take their work for granted until an extraordinary event makes us realize the level of their dedication to the well-being of the young people in their care — academically, physically and emotionally.

There are well-researched competencies of outstanding teachers — none of them, by the way, are measured by test scores at the end of the year. A main competency is their desire to have an impact on their students’ future.

This belief drives them to commit to their children and school in time, energy, often their own resources and deep emotional attachment.

As we’ve recently seen, teachers, psychologists, principals and other school personnel will do virtually everything for the welfare of their students — follow safety policies, gather and console, instinctively do heroic deeds, act courageously without weapons — even give their lives.

These are true measurements of the people we entrust with our children every day. Hopefully we can appreciate this and commit our own emotions and resources to supporting our children, teachers and schools in difficult future times. We can do better together.

Briggs McAndrews

Sackets Harbor

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