Today is Teacher Appreciation Day. In honor of that, Denise Birdwell, Superintendent of Higley Unified School District here in Arizona, had her administrative assistant send this email to the teachers:
Inspiring, right? Makes you want to stand up and salute.
From: Olivas, Jill
Sent: Tuesday, May 03, 2011 3:00 PM
To: District Wide Certified Staff; District Psychologists Group; District Gifted Teachers
Subject: Letter from Dr. Birdwell
Higley. Connect, Engage, INSPIRE
As the end of the year approaches, it is only fitting that we stop and thank our Higley teachers. The late William Arthur Ward wrote, "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." We celebrate teachers who INSPIRE.
While I am eternally grateful to those extraordinary teachers who have touched my soul throughout my life, at the same time I am truly honored to be an educator myself. I am privilege to spend each day surrounded by teachers who inspire students to achieve their potential. I am fortunate to be in a position that allows me the honor to inspire others and help foster a lifelong love of learning has been a blessing in my life, which has brought me immense joy.
I have the opportunity to listen to teachers express their experiences of discovery along with their students. They share their journeys as they witness the fascinating transformations as their students achieve success, begin to believe in themselves, and start to value their own worth as unique individuals has been rewarding beyond measure. These are the moments we remember why we are teachers.
Great teachers bestow invaluable gifts upon their students: lessons upon which to build their lives. They provide stepping stones of knowledge and inquiry, spark the magic of discovery, encourage students to believe that success is within reach, foster courage to take risks, help students learn from mistakes and view perceived failures as opportunities for growth, guide learners to develop the determination to persevere and to stand by their principles even when terrified to do so, inspire conviction for learners to follow their dreams with passion in their hearts, model the need to strive for excellence and the worth of effort and determination, and teach students to value differences in others by taking the time to learn about them rather than fearing what they don't understand - just to name a few!
A great teacher can inspire the spark that ignites a lifelong passion for learning and an insatiable appetite for knowledge that makes learning a marvelous adventure. Perhaps most importantly, teachers lead by example and demonstrate respect, empathy, compassion and patience toward others.
In honor of National Teachers Day, we appreciate those who so proudly embody the noble title of teacher, and make such remarkable contributions to our community. An extraordinary teacher can change lives, and thus change the world. Teachers give students the greatest gift of all: the ability to believe in themselves and to value the special gifts they possess, for which they deserve incredible gratitude.
There's only one problem. It's lifted almost word-for-word (with some mistakes added) from this opinion piece by Jennifer Lauria, an associate professor of education at Wagner College in Staten Island.
Once or twice in my career, a student has tried to do this--pass off work from the internet as original. Apart from failing my class, they faced serious consequences from the university for breach of academic honesty.
Aside from the fact that her action is just plain embarrassing--do teachers really want warmed-over praise?--it's also unethical and dishonest. Someone who describes herself as an expert in educational law ought to know what plagiarism looks like and should set a better example for the students in her district. What will the consequences be? I look forward to finding out.