President Renée Pinkney: “UEA Educators, I see you and I appreciate you.”

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week, UEA!


I hope you have felt the love, appreciation, dignity, and respect you deserve this week and all year. I don’t have to tell you that teaching is a full mind and body experience. The energy, passion, empathy, and understanding you bring daily can be exhilarating when you know your students are engaged with the curriculum. You are making a positive difference in their educational journey.

It can also be exhausting as you help students navigate the challenges they face in school and their lives. Managing increasing negative behaviors that require constant redirection and split-second decision-making takes a toll. That start and stop during a lesson is taxing and at the end of the day you are depleted, however, you find a way to stay after school to help struggling students because you care deeply about their success. This is what it means to be an educator.


Teaching can feel like a thankless profession until you find that heartfelt thank you note from a student written on lined paper, folded up, and placed on your desk when you weren’t looking. Or a student who comes back years later to tell you how much you helped and encouraged them when they had doubts about their abilities when talking with you in the counseling center. Or when an adult at a restaurant comes over to your table to share their memories of visiting you in the library and their favorite book you recommended. Or that beautiful card, mailed to you at school, from a student letting you know they have graduated with a Master of Social Work degree and thank you for “teaching the hard stuff”. That is soul-filling and a reminder of how many students you have positively impacted during your teaching career.


I’m filled with gratitude for your countless hours spent on lesson plans. For your constant reflection on how you can make a lesson more meaningful. For your willingness to collaborate with your peers to identify struggling students who need additional support and provide that support. For the late nights and weekends spent developing and grading student assessments providing timely feedback. For the phone calls, emails, and conferences with parents. For your expertise in teaching and learning. For choosing to be a teacher and so much more.


Remember to take time for yourself, your family, and your friends. Soak up the sun. Enjoy what life has to offer. Have a terrific summer!


With admiration for all that you do,


Renée Pinkney

UEA President