The DEN kicked off Teacher Appreciation Week tonight at Discovery Headquarters with a very special screening with our friends at BYkids of “My Country is Tibet” – a documentary created by Namgyal Wanchuk who was coronated by the Dalai Lama, and recognized as a descended of the Tibetan Dharma Kings.
Following the screening, students, teachers, parents and community members had an opportunity to ask questions of the film’s producers. Words that come to mind to me just hours after the event: unique, candid, thoughtful and inspiring. It was a perfect way to start Teacher Appreciation Week through the voice of a student who cares deeply about his family, friends and country. Tonight the student was truly the teacher, and the process that enabled his voice to be amplified really resonates those things that embody what powerful learning experiences are all about.
Connections to things that matter most to us. Mentors who help guide us through a process of discovery. Recognition of the process being just as important, if not more, than the product itself. Care for, and commitment to, community.
As we start a week celebrating the teachers in our lives – past, present and future – what we are really celebrating is the fact that all around the globe we have amazing human beings who dedicate their lives to caring for each other. We celebrate teachers who artfully design learning environments where students see themselves as part of a larger community. We celebrate teachers who know that after 20 years of teaching there might not be many accolades, but the time they spend going to their students’ baseball games after school, taking a late night text to answer a question from a student or providing a simple word of encouragement on a tough day are the things that matter most.
Proficient or advanced, basic or below basic, A or B, these measures of success are really secondary when it comes down to the true impact teachers have on their communities. Teachers change students’ lives forever. As a result, they change and shape their communities every day.
For the past eight years I have been fortunate to learn with and from the DEN, a group of amazing educators who comprise one of the best educational communities out there. And it’s not because of their knowledge of the latest and greatest (and shiniest) technologies. It’s because of their commitment to each other, to help each other lean and grow each day, and as a result their students reap the rewards, their communities become stronger.
So, if I had to put it in a word, or words, my community is…
Feel free to add your own in the comments. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!