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Perspective | A Teacher Appreciation Week thank-you note from Superintendent Truitt

Hello everyone, and happy Teacher Appreciation Week! 

As State Superintendent, I wanted to take a moment and express my gratitude and admiration for everything you do.

I have long believed that the only people who can possibly know what it’s like to be a teacher are people who teach or who have taught. To know what it’s like to delight in the face of a third grader who finally writes a paragraph all by herself is to be a teacher. To lie awake at night gripped with self-doubt about the decision to refer a seventh grader to the principal is to be a teacher. To cry to a colleague because a senior’s sick mother is not going to make it to graduation is to be a teacher.  

As a former teacher, I know teaching is a profession that produces the best feeling in the world — the feeling of helping another person. As teachers, each day you stand in front of your students and you inspire the next generation of leaders and innovators. You cultivate curiosity while instilling core values like kindness, patience, and teamwork. You are tasked with helping students discover their passion so they can pursue their dreams. But the responsibilities placed on you can be overwhelming at times, and the bad days can sometimes seem like they outnumber the good.

Yet teaching is incredibly fulfilling work, and I know you all have been difference-makers in the lives of your students.

Anyone who steps foot inside a school sees how hard you work to provide a positive impact on the lives of your students, your colleagues, and your communities. It never goes unnoticed.  Much of what you do falls outside of your job description, but you go the extra mile to care for each of the students in your class as though they were your own.

Your daily interactions help build their character and increase their motivation. You give your students your utmost. You give them your focus and your attention. You teach our students the skills they need to thrive, by helping them manage stress, develop positive relationships, and work through conflict. You are essential role models on their journey to becoming better students and better people.

Mother Teresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.” Even on the bad days, you are changing the world every day.

I am immensely proud to serve as your superintendent. It is an honor to celebrate North Carolina’s incredible educators.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Catherine Truitt

Catherine Truitt is North Carolina State Superintendent of Public Instruction.