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  • Laura Lang

Gratitude...for all of the teachers who have inspired me

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

This crazy, pandemic-fueled school year has come to a close, and I can finally sit back and reflect on what it meant for me and for the incredible teachers and administrators I work with.

I've been working in the field of education since 1996. During that time, I have experienced the joys and the challenges of teaching and supporting teachers within urban, suburban and rural schools, homogenous and diverse contexts, K-12 and higher education classrooms, and districts small and large. Those teachers navigate scripted and project-based curriculum, supportive and unsupportive administrators, shared and disparate visions of high quality instruction, brand-new and dilapidated buildings, abundant and limited resources.

At the start of my career, I taught in a school with scripted curriculum, no real books and a principal who bullied the students and teachers (including me). A few years later, I found myself in a building overflowing with resources and technology, led by administrators who valued curricular innovation and teacher expertise. In both of those spaces, and in all of the others I have been honored to work in over the years, I encountered teachers who worked tirelessly to support their students. They inspired me then, and they continue to inspire me daily.

During this past year, as my in-person professional development shifted to Zoom and Google Meet, I had the honor of supporting interdisciplinary teacher teams from afar. I use the word "honor" intentionally. Indeed, I consider it an honor to be in a position where I can support and value teachers' work, particularly as they encountered some of the most difficult teaching contexts of their careers. We worked together to improve instruction, to share challenges and to explore what was possible in fully virtual or hybrid learning environments. And because we were all joining in from our homes, we learned a bit more about each other than we might have otherwise.

I met a math teacher's new granddaughter, smiled as an English teacher's cat walked across her keyboard, encouraged an instructional coach to play a song he was about to perform for other staff (for the first time!), celebrated - but also worried - when a German teacher joined us from bed as she was battling Covid, chuckled when someone else's dogs (not mine!) started to bark in the background. And I finally told teachers that I am a songwriter and a musician. I hadn't felt comfortable doing that before.

To all of the teachers I have worked with over the years: I continue to be inspired and humbled by you. I am truly grateful!

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