Being a teacher today is difficult. Between meeting the ongoing daily challenges of the pandemic, grappling with ways to recover unfinished student learning, striving to reclaim classroom stability for themselves and their students, and rekindling the spirit that brought them into teaching — the belief that they can make a difference in students’ lives — teachers have a lot on their plates.

Let’s start the new year off right with a resolution by resolving to raise our voices in support of teachers and school leaders for the good things they do for our children, such as adjusting to the fluctuating class sizes related to quarantining and lower enrollment, hybrid and in-person instruction, and preparing lessons that are engaging.

It takes community members expressing their appreciation, as was done recently with the “Thank an Educator” program sponsored by Santa Fe Public Schools and the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce, and by teaming up with teachers and building administrators to tutor, mentor and otherwise assist them.

So, get involved and become a partner who takes on additional duties (lunch and hall monitoring, being present to greet and encourage students, serving as an adult role model, etc.).

Parents also can support teachers by encouraging their children to appreciate learning, ensuring that assignments are completed and acknowledging new learning opportunities through literature and other engaging activities.

For examples, visit the “Family Toolbox” at

In this unique environment, created in large part by COVID-19, educators continue to believe they can make a difference in the lives of their students, a belief which even now serves as the driver for student learning.

They rekindle professional confidence and enthusiasm for teaching and prioritize the idea that their work matters a great deal, because it is all about the children.

Teaching ignites passion, and the more teachers experience personal and professional success and are applauded for what they do, the greater their sense of effectiveness.

That, of course, impacts student learning.

Did you know something remarkable happens every day in Santa Fe Public Schools?

Teachers plan relevant and engaging experiences for their students. Those efforts run the gamut, from creating lessons that take kids to the next level by designing a hydroponics system to grow plants.

Some teachers research lunch food favorites by writing and conducting surveys, interviewing students and cafeteria workers, analyzing the results and sharing findings.

Others employ literature to contextualize and target the specialized vocabulary demands in math and science by reading about adventurous characters who encounter dilemmas.

Still others provide pathways into medicine, engineering and technical careers and encourage participation in award-winning art and music programs.

Their value — and their impact — are immense.

In 2022, commit to volunteering and being a positive force for the education of our children.

Acts of appreciation express the sentiment that our community cares.

They they tell our teachers they are valued and to keep up the good work as they continue to travel on their challenging teaching journey.

Judy Reinhartz is a member of the Coalition for Public Education’s Leadership Circle, a MathAmigos Literacy+Math coaching director and a board member of the Santa Fe Alliance for Science. She also serves as a co-leader of the Adopt-A-School program and is a professor emeritus at the University of Texas-El Paso.

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