The gift of stability, connection, progress, and hope you’ve given your students this year is no small thing. I know it has been hard. I know you have been asked to create something entirely new. But I hope you’ll see this year not just as a struggle, but as an accomplishment. I am grateful and I am proud of all you have achieved.
Let me also make it clear that I believe we – as a society – owe you more than our words of gratitude. We owe you our tangible support, and our respect for your professional judgment and skill.
That’s why we set aside COVID funding to provide $1,000 retention bonuses for teachers and school staff. That’s why we worked with Gov. Kemp to add the Georgia Teacher of the Year as an adviser to the State Board of Education. It is why, to be candid, I have advocated throughout my time as state superintendent for a move away from over-testing and hyper-accountability – because I trust that you can do your job well, and I believe you’ll have more time to teach children when you’re not weighted down by high-stakes testing requirements.
It is my commitment to you – as state school superintendent and as someone who spent most of my own career in the classroom – that I will always pair words of appreciation with actions to support teachers and elevate teacher voices.
To my fellow Georgians, I call on you to offer that same respect to our educators – not just during Teacher Appreciation Month, but year-round. They are dedicated, hardworking professionals, and they’re doing incredibly difficult work.
Teachers lift our students up every day – let’s lift them up, too.
The Georgia Department of Education is accepting video messages to be shared on its social media accounts throughout Teacher Appreciation Month. Do you have a favorite teacher? Make a 10-second video clip and tell DOE why they’re special to you. Upload the video here.
Here are the video criteria:
Make your video in a well-lit, quiet place
Turn your phone or camera to the horizontal position
No longer than 10 seconds in length
Please, no added music or special effects