The spring season evokes feelings of hope, growth, and renewal. Just as the weather brings the healing energy of sunshine, Teacher Appreciation Week reminds us of the power of shining a light to express gratitude for the amazing individuals supporting and encouraging students every day.
When we asked the Highlander Institute team to reflect on what teachers mean to them, a few key themes emerged. Read on to discover the sentiments from our staff members and be sure to thank a teacher in your life today!
My favorite teachers will be part of me forever. While I would be hard pressed to remember any of the content they taught me, whenever I sit down to work through a challenge, I still feel their encouragement and belief in my abilities. I will always be grateful for their most important lessons — how to be resilient, how to learn from my mistakes, and how to demonstrate love and care for the people in my world.
Cathy Sanford, Director of Communications
During Teacher Appreciation Week, I always think back to those who have impacted my life through their transformative teaching. I will always feel grateful to my high school English teacher who opened our eyes and connected us to so many aspects of the human experience, all while being incredibly cool, interesting, and relatable. Instead of always assigning papers, she often had us respond to texts through art, music, and other creative forms of expression. We analyzed The Stranger by Albert Camus by listening to music by The Cure. My friend and I even got to write and perform a song about Grendel (the beast from Beowulf) in front of our whole class. She showed me a deep love of the profession and of students that sticks with me still.
Stephanie Castilla, Director of Systems
Teacher Qualities & Characteristics
Encouraging | Supportive | Inspiring | Nurturing. Thank YOU to all the teachers who pour their hearts into their job, day in and day out. You are making a difference. You are valued. You are appreciated!
Cindy Kenney, Executive Assistant
Members of the teaching profession embody the term ‘lifelong learner’. Teachers are constantly pushing their thinking, sharing ideas, and celebrating others (their students, their colleagues, their school leaders) — continuing to offer free trainings and host events to shine a light. Thank you to all of the teachers who model a sense of curiosity and dedicate their energy to uplifting the education community, especially during times of dissent and challenge.
Maeve Murray, Communications Manager
Teachers are crucial to understanding data through a liberatory lens. You bring us the context, insights, and valuable anecdotes we need to develop a holistic view of student experiences beyond test results. Thank you!
Rebecca Roberts, Data Analyst
Grade Level, School, & Partner Shout-Outs
This year I have spent a lot of time with teachers of our youngest learners in Pre-K and kindergarten classrooms. Most of these children were born during or right before the pandemic and early grades teachers are moving mountains to get them the skills and support they need for a successful K-12 experience. This Teacher Appreciation Week, we are are truly grateful to our early childhood educators!
Shawn Rubin, Executive Director
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to all of our partners. Every day you choose to stand for equity. Thank you for being the change we wish to see in the world!
Michaelle Larracuente, Director of Program & Implementation
I would like to send deep appreciation and gratitude to all the educators I work with. I have learned so much with you and from you this year. I see ALL of your hard work and dedication to your schools, students, and families. I am uplifted and inspired by your creativity and caring for kids every time I enter your buildings.
Shout out to: Bernon Heights & Kevin K. Coleman Elementary Schools (Woonsocket); Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts (Providence); Willett Early Childhood Center (Norwood); Early Childhood Center, Thornton, Sarah Dyer Barnes, Winsor Hill, & Brown Avenue Elementary Schools (Johnston); Pell Elementary School & Rogers High School (Newport)!
Heidi Vazquez, Instructional Equity Partner