Long before I began my teaching career, I worked as a switchboard operator at vending machine factory in Aurora, Illinois. Through the summers after high school, I worked a number of odd jobs, including driving a forklift and packaging textbooks.
Part of the time I was a relief switchboard operator and my sole job was to use electrical cords to connect one caller to another on a giant, high-back switchboard. I had to make sure that when a caller dialed the switchboard he or she was connected to the right person.
After almost 30 of years working on behalf of students, I still think about that job and how today’s teachers are often tasked with helping students and their families make important connections. Whether you’ve helped a student understand a real life application of what they’ve learned, sent home information to parents, or even helped the entire family receive additional services, you have served as a vital link for your students.
Last week I had the pleasure of announcing the finalists for the 2015 Macy’s/Florida Teacher of the Year Award. I can tell you that each one of these talented educators has helped students make connections between classroom knowledge and future goals and I know there are many more outstanding educators, like you, inspiring students to find their passion. I hope that you were able to spend this year’s Teacher Appreciation Week doing what you love and knowing that we truly appreciate you for it.
On behalf of the Florida Department of Education, thank you for being the invaluable link between students, their families and a lifetime of success.
Commissioner of Education