Despite the freebies and inevitable purchases, there is one thing much more valuable that I take away from convention each year: a renewed sense of purpose. Dr. Yong Zhao spoke of a learning environment where we strive to enhance the inherent value in each student. Taylor Mali reminded us that we are in the greatest job in the world. Izzeldin Abuelaish emphasized how lucky we are to work day in and day out with our most precious resource: our children.
Education is often deemed the one thing that can change the world. Too bad more of our politicians don’t agree. Yet regardless of what the politicians believe or what the statistics in the Fraser Report denounce, I feel privileged to be a part of this profession.
As thousands of teachers come together for our annual convention, there is a collective understanding in the room: people who get it, who live it, who breathe it. People who know that what we do makes a difference in the lives of children. People who know that our roles involve much more than curriculum, report cards and test scores.
Yes, we could study, analyze and compare the data. Or, we could exchange anecdotes about our interactions with individuals each and every day. Which would tell us more about the difference we make in the lives of children? After all, our students are more than simply a number on a page.