It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and we’re so inspired by all the great work we see educators doing — this week and every other week of the year.
Like many holidays, Teacher Appreciation Week is a nice gesture that will never sufficiently express our gratitude for the invaluable work teachers do every day. Teachers are America’s engine, working each day to build and empower a new generation of engaged and thoughtful citizens.
But just as we don’t often look under the hood to peek at our car’s engine unless something goes wrong, our country can sometimes take teachers for granted. Last year’s wave of teacher strikes made that especially apparent, as teachers around the country protested far-too-high class sizes, lack of supplies, and far-too-low salaries.
This week and every week, we want to join the parents, administrators, and anyone else who has ever entrusted a teacher with their education in remembering the significant role that teachers play in our nation and our lives. However, remembrance alone isn’t enough — we must also take concrete steps to empower and support educators.
According to a 2011 study from researchers at Harvard University, a student with a good fourth-grade teacher will make about $25,000 more in their lifetime than a student with a poor or average fourth-grade teacher. For an average-sized class of fourth-graders, that means a total difference of about $700,000 per year.
It’s clear that one good teacher can have an outsized impact on a student’s life — or even on an entire community — over time. And an entire school or district of skilled teachers? That’s how real progress happens.
Teachers equip students to discover and pursue their skills, passions, and dreams, fostering a lifelong love of learning and planting seeds for the critical thinking skills and work ethic that are the foundation of a successful, sustained career.
Unfortunately, there are many factors that can get in the way of teachers’ ability to do their jobs, a lack of resources foremost among them. Some 94 percent of public school teachers in the United States report that they spend an average of $479 per year on classroom supplies out of their own pockets without reimbursement from their school or district.
Why would teachers do that? Because they love their jobs and their students. Teaching is “the only job you’ll ever have where you can’t sleep because you’re worried about someone else’s child,” and that level of care, dedication, and sacrifice deserves to be recognized each and every day.
Teaching has never been an easy job. Each year brings new challenges — and new opportunities. As the digital revolution has unfolded, many teachers have had to rise to meet new expectations around personalized education, community engagement, and accountability.
On the one hand, these expectations have the potential to make teachers’ lives far more complicated, as they often entail more data reporting than ever before. However, with the right data infrastructure in place, they actually represent an opportunity for teachers to leverage data in a more efficient manner. This not only reduces teachers’ ever-increasing workloads, but allows teachers to help their students in more precise, targeted, and effective ways.
Providing educators with the information they need when they need it is at the heart of Hoonuit’s mission. Our goal is to empower educators with the actionable, data-driven insights they need to provide students with highly tailored educational experiences that will drive real change. This Teacher Appreciation Week, we want to thank teachers for all that they do — and let them know that we’re committed to supporting them every step of the way.