It’s the time of year we all look forward too… especially after such a long and white winter. It is spring! With spring comes a burst of activity — concerts, field trips, graduation — and before we know it, educators across the state are wrapping up the school year and preparing to send another group of students off to the next grade or next stage in life. Educators are proud of their students and their work, but at this point we are just plain exhausted.
As you each take time to rest and relax before summer kicks into high gear with workshops, classes and summer school, please put up your feet, get a cold drink and let me take a moment to say thank you.
First, I want to thank you for the dedication you have for the students of South Dakota. There is not a day that goes by where I do not see SDEA members going above and beyond for their students. You spend countless hours at school, late nights correcting and planning, cleaning up after a school concert or early morning preparing breakfast and lunch to be served on time. You put in all those hours for your students.
Thank you for stepping up when it comes to issues that matter. You’ve used your voice to advocate for students, for funding, and against legislation that silenced your voice and hurt your students. You’ve seized opportunities and attended local meetings, unit meetings, said “yes” to serving on a committee or to being a part of an advisory council. You came to Pierre to the Representative Assembly and you used your voice to advocate.
Thank you for your desire to grow as a professional to better understand and serve your students. You’ve attended SDEA trauma informed trainings, poverty simulations, and many other professional development events. I’ve been inspired by the locals who have reached out to our newest early career educators and brought NEA blended learning, micro-credential cohorts and Early Leadership Institutes to their locals to engage these members. I’ve watched as you’ve worked on membership by hosting back to school events and luncheon for new teachers. You were willing to have those all-important one-on-one conversations about the difference a collective voice can make.
You’ve done a lot this year and you deserve to take time for yourself and your family; you’ve earned it. As you wrap up the school year, know that you are appreciated for everything you do for the students of South Dakota and for your Association. Never lose sight of the fact that what you do as an educator and as a member matter. It matters each and every day….and so do each of you!
Have a good and restful summer. Take time to recharge… and be ready for next year. We are going to need each and every one of you!