Paul is a full-time fifth-grade teacher at an elementary school in Fairfield ... Paul is an Emmy award winner, five-time Emmy nominee, and four-time winner of the Connecticut Associated Press Broadcasters' Association award for 'Best Weathercast' ... The local weather journal is a two-time winner of the Communicator Award of Distinction ... Paul was inducted into the Housatonic Community College Hall of Fame and received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012 ... Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulPiorek ...

Monday, May 5, 2014

Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week

Each week when I visit a different school across southwestern Connecticut, I'm always impressed with the commitment and dedication of our teachers to their craft and their students. Clearly, they have a passion for what they do, and it shows through their creativity and energy. Almost always they are smiling, and they love their profession.

The demands and challenges teachers face today are much different than when I left the classroom nearly 20 years ago. I taught from 1985 to 1995, long before the widespread use of modern-day technology, which has become an integral part of the educational experience. Educators are constantly improving their curricula, and many attend classes and seminars during the Summer months to learn new methods of instruction and classroom management.

Tomorrow is National Teacher Appreciation Day, and this week is National Teacher Appreciation Week. According to the teacher appreciation Web site, "Teaching is possibly one of the most vocational jobs. It is simply impossible to teach if you don’t like that activity, or if you don’t care for your students. Care, that’s the word. But, how often do we, the rest of us, care for our current or former teachers? How often do we show our teacher appreciation? How often do we thank them for their care, efforts and help?

A teacher’s highest reward is feeling the true appreciation and gratitude of his or her current or former students. I know, because I've received letters and phone calls from former students of mine. I can't tell you how rewarding it is to hear from a student I taught 25 years ago telling me how much he learned and how much he enjoyed my classes. I still enjoy teaching today. Here are some photos from recent visits to area schools. Yes, teaching is still very much in my blood, and I love working with children.

If you have children in the school system, I'm sure you're grateful for the work of our teachers. Even if you don't have any school-aged children, I'm sure you're aware of the work of our dedicated educators. They deserve our support, and I applaud them. I'll be sure to thank both of my sons' teachers this week.

Thank you, teachers.