Every child has an inalienable right to an educational opportunity.
Collectively, we have a fundamental obligation to ensure that each child throughout the country, and throughout the world, has this undeniable right. Every child has a story, and each one deserves to share his or her story with others. Education makes this possible, and teachers help these stories to be written. As teachers, our own stories intersect with, and are enhanced by, the many stories of our students. Cultivating these stories must be at the core of teaching and learning. Imagine what we can be as a global community if every child’s potential and every child’s story are nurtured.
The most important aspects of teaching and learning can never be truly measured.
What students remember most about their education are the relationships and the experiences. They remember how they were made to feel, how they grew, and what fascinated them. Consequently, they will continue to grow as empathetic, compassionate, knowledgeable global citizens and lifelong learners. If testing, international comparisons, and other objective measurements unduly dominate the educational landscape and associated reform dialogue, and teaching and learning follow in this vein, we run the risk of overlooking the true purpose of education and schooling.
Effective teachers maintain perspective and find a way to balance.
Effective and successful teachers remain mindful of the intricate and important balance between the every day realities of school, and their classrooms, on the one hand, and the broader political and social pressures with the ideals and grander purposes of education, on the other. They also know which of these perspectives must remain at the forefront of the important work in which we are engaged. Their authenticity and credibility derive from their own passion, dedication, and effort. These qualities are grounded in a strong belief, constantly renewed, that all children deserve an excellent education, and in the promise that all children possess.
The most important variable in achieving and maintaining educational excellence is the way in which teachers, schools, and education are perceived.
Perhaps the single greatest contributing factor to teachers’ effectiveness is their self-perception that derives from support, respect, feeling valued, and having a voice. Of all of the elements we can learn and emulate from high performing systems abroad, the most imperative is that the esteem in which those societies hold their teachers and the institution of education as a whole is paramount. One of the constants that becomes obvious when studying international comparisons over the decades is that, no matter the country, high achievement corresponds with the positive, even exalted, perceptions of teachers and education.
Never, ever again use the phrase, “I am just a teacher.”
Our work is too important and our perspective too instrumental to diminish the extremely valuable role we all play in our students’ lives and beyond. We are not “just” teachers – we are the pillars, we are the leaders, and we are the hearts of our schools, our communities, our state, and our country. Teachers offer wisdom, intuition, authenticity, and insight that anyone who has not been a teacher simply cannot understand. By valuing teachers’ perspectives, we elevate the profession and underscore the significance of the work we do with our nation’s most important resource.
The views expressed on this site are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Pearson Foundation.
David Bosso, the 2012 Connecticut Teacher of the Year, has been teaching Social Studies at Berlin High School since 1998. He was recently named the 2012-2013 Outstanding Secondary Social Studies Teacher of the Year by the National Council for the Social Studies, and was recognized by the Connecticut Council of the Social Studies for its Excellence in Social Studies Education award in 2009.
Bosso has traveled extensively in an educational capacity, visiting schools and working with teachers from many countries. Through the Teaching Excellence and Achievement program, he traveled to Ghana in 2011 to work with numerous educators in the development of best teaching practices. He has also traveled to China, Saudi Arabia, and Japan as part of educational delegations, with the specific goals of developing greater cross-cultural awareness and fostering global understanding. In 2001, he was a member of a Fulbright-Hays Summer Seminar Abroad program to Egypt and Israel.
Bosso has made numerous local, statewide, regional, and national presentations on teaching practices, classroom management, and technology. In addition to active membership on his district’s Social Studies Vertical Team, Bosso serves on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Council for the Social Studies. He was the co-chair for the Northeast Regional Conference on the Social Studies to be held in April of 2012, the theme of which was “21st Century Learning: The Role and Future of the Social Studies.” He is also a member of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, has served on the Principal Evaluation Working Group of Connecticut’s Performance Evaluation Advisory Council, and sits on the Education, Nursing, and Health Professions Board of Visitors for the University of Hartford.
His work with students as well as prospective, current, and new teachers is wide-ranging, as he serves as a TEAM mentor, cooperating teacher, and fieldwork advisor. He recently facilitated an online course about modern China and served as a lead teacher for a Primary Source summer institute about 19th and 20th century Africa. Currently, he is an adjunct professor at Eastern Connecticut State University preparing prospective Social Studies teachers for their future careers.
Bosso earned a Bachelors degree in History/Social Sciences from Eastern Connecticut State University. In addition to a Masters degree in Educational Computing and Technology from the University of Hartford, Bosso holds a Masters degree in History from Central Connecticut State University. His work at CCSU led to the publication of two articles in the journal, Connecticut History, focusing on the Americanization of Italians in Waterbury, CT, during the Second World War, and on the impact of Japan’s economic growth in the 1970s and 1980s on industry, politics, and education in Connecticut during that era. Currently, he is enrolled in the doctor of education program at American International College in Springfield, MA.