During Teacher Appreciation Week, Facing History & Ourselves celebrates not only the 400,000 educators in our network but all teachers for your tireless professionalism, dedication to supporting children and adolescents, and cultivating their love of learning.
Facing History is a teacher-founded organization. When we started in 1976, we believed that the road to democracy, to a more perfect union, was through the classroom. Over the years, research has backed this belief. Even during this time, when it feels especially difficult to go into the classroom every day, we believe that educators like you are uniquely positioned to enact positive social change by empowering and inspiring young people to be independent and analytical thinkers. With your guidance, students are able to understand and value their power as civic participants – laying the foundation that will help ensure our democracy can endure and thrive even in times of division.
Today, we continue to rely on the partnership of educators in our network for strategies, content, and ideas about engaging young people to stand up to bigotry and hate. By creating brave spaces for students to develop historical understanding, social-emotional skills, and their sense of civic responsibility, your classrooms cultivate students as proud agents of change. Thank you for helping build a more ethical and compassionate future every day.
We know the last three years have been difficult and exhausting. We have heard from so many of you that these have been the hardest years of your career. As school curriculum is politicized, polarized, and restricted, you are also faced with supporting your students through an alarming youth mental health crisis that we, as a society, are still struggling to come to terms with. These upheavals have shone a spotlight on the essential role of teachers in our communities and the impact you have on your student’s lives. We are grateful for all you do to help your students make sense of the world and their role in it.
As you face these complex issues we hope that you are able to find meaningful ways to pause, exhale, and recharge. This year, we have launched a new virtual Renew and Restore event series. These webinars are viewable on-demand, and designed to help you put aside an hour for yourself and share grounding tools that you can carry with you into your classrooms and daily lives.
We leave you with this inspirational story from Maya Angelou about her Uncle Willie, —an unlikely educator who planted the seeds of children’s future achievement in ways he could not have imagined. Isn’t this what we do? We love them, nurture their curiosity, and send them ahead in the faith that they will bloom in ways beyond our imagination.
Today, and every day, we celebrate the ways you continue to show up for and engage your students, supporting their growth, fostering empathy, and working towards a kinder, more peaceful world.