GUEST: Focus on Education Week: Teachers appreciate community support

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What is a teacher? Merriam-Webster defines a teacher as one who teaches; especially, one whose occupation is to instruct.

For the teachers I work with it is so much more. Education extends beyond mere instruction - it is an opportunity to positively impact a young person's life.

Teachers don't choose public education unless they believe in the possibility of making things better by being a mentor and role model to the children they teach.

Teaching is about standing up for your kids and giving them a voice about what it is that helps them learn and what motivates them to reach their full potential.

This calling to make a difference in the lives of others is something teachers say started to grow early on when they, too, were inspired by one of their teachers.

Aside from the connections made with students, teaching is a personal masterpiece - a work of art that demands creativity, enthusiasm and a drive to make it right for every child. Growing bored with this kind of dynamic energy is impossible.

Teachers' brains are constantly engaged as their students grow and evolve to be what they've always dreamed.

A fellow teacher once told me, "Parents give us the best kids they have."

And that is so true. As teachers we know and respect the responsibility entrusted of us. Parents and the community expect us to provide a quality education - one that is fit for preparation of a changing, global society.

We take that task seriously. Though teaching may be a calling and a labor of love, it is not an easy undertaking. But if you've ever seen a child smile at the big red B-plus on the math exam they studied for or the student who gives you a hug at graduation, thanking you for all the times you helped them with their homework after school, then you know how it feels to be a teacher.

Years of college, late nights grading English essays, hundreds of dollars spent on classroom materials - it all becomes worth it.

Teachers know the difference they make and it's important that they do, because without teachers where would we be?

In Washington, the right to an education is specifically written in the state constitution. Not all states see the inherent value of an education and in some countries (not the U.S.) education is a privilege given only to a few.

But here in the Walla Walla Valley and across the state, teachers strive for excellence providing a high quality education, nutritious meals, health screenings and extra-curricular activities, such as sports and fine arts.

Students are greeted with a smile and go home with the knowledge that tomorrow teachers will be waiting for them, looking forward to another day of learning as they move toward their journey to being a doctor, parent, electrician, chef or, perhaps, a teacher.

We, the teachers of the Walla Walla Valley, want to thank the community during Focus on Education Week for its continued support of our schools.

Your support helps ensure excellence in every classroom. Walla Walla Valley Education Association works closely with Walla Walla and College Place public schools.

Through team work and collaboration we have been able to maintain a high standard of learning and reduce spending. We are all committed in helping all children meet their potential and be successful in an ever changing world.

Margo Piver is president of the Walla Walla Valley Education Association and a special education teacher at Walla Walla High School.

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