By Terry Rogers
In celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Week from May 6 through May 10, Milford schools held several events to thank teachers, librarians and other school staff for the sacrifices they make to educate students in the district.
The push for a day to honor teachers began in 1944 when Arkansas teacher, Mattye Whyte Woodbridge, began contacting political and educational leaders about the need for such a celebration. One of those Ms. Woodbridge contacted was Eleanor Roosevelt, who, in 1953, persuaded Congress to proclaim a National Teacher Day. In 1980, the National Education Association (NEA) lobbied Congress to create an official national day to honor the work of teachers, and Congress declared March 7, 1980 as National Teacher Day, but for that year only. The NEA continued to celebrate National Teacher Day unofficially in March, until, in 1985, they voted to change the event to Tuesday in the first full week of May. Over the years, Parent/Teacher Organizations and school administrators extended the celebrations throughout the week, and now districts celebrate the first full week of May as National Teacher Appreciation Week.
According to Dr. Phyllis Kohel, Superintendent of Milford School District, there is more to being a good teacher than educating students.
“Once you look past the obvious attributes, such as years of experience, knowledge of content area, etc., I believe that a good teacher thrives on the success of his or her students,” Dr. Kohel said. “A good teacher is flexible and willing to change to meet student needs. A good teacher takes the time to reflect on his or her teaching and continually strives to make it better. A good teacher maintains an interactive classroom. Most importantly, a good teacher listens to his or her students. Teachers can impact students’ lives in so many ways – they teach, they mentor, and they support their students both educationally and emotionally.”
Beth Conaway, principal at Evelyn I. Morris Early Childhood agrees with Dr. Kohel’s assessment of a good teacher, and is proud to lead the exceptional staff at Morris.
“The Morris Early Childhood Staff is truly exceptional. This staff is dedicated to ensuring that every child has a strong and positive academic, social and emotional school experience,” Principal Conaway, said. “They are always looking for ways to meet their student’s diverse needs and will adapt or problem solve to ensure these needs are met. The Milford School District should be proud of the amazing work that the Morris teachers and support staff do on a daily basis.” Evelyn I. Morris Early Childhood Center held celebrations each day of the week with gifts to the teachers, as well as a luncheon provided by the Morris PTP.
Susan Donahue, principal at Mispillion Elementary School, says that teachers work to not only provide students the education they need to succeed, but work to instill a sense of pride in each child they are charged with caring for each year.
“The staff at Mispillion works tirelessly each day to instill the Mispillion PRIDE in our students,” she stated. “They create experiences that motivate and challenge students. They collaborate to meet the needs of every student and support each other in all that they do.” Activities at Mispillion Elementary included breakfast for the teachers, as well as a car wash in partnership with the National Honor Society. Drawings were held throughout the week for prizes and teachers enjoyed a Teacher Appreciation Luncheon to end the week.
Benjamin Banneker and Lulu Ross Elementary, Milford Middle School, Milford Central Academy and Milford Senior High School also held events, including luncheons, breakfasts, gifts and other forms of teacher acknowledgement planned for the week.
Milford High School principal David Carter summed up the activities best when he said “We definitely want to celebrate our teachers during National Teacher Appreciation Week, and all throughout the school year because there is no question our school could not succeed without their hard work and dedication.”