We Are Teachers… The Profession That Matters Most — Mona Al-Hayani, 2020 Ohio Teacher Fellow
By: Staff Blogger
Viewing back-to-school commercials certainly conjures up a lot of emotions in teachers. We always feel like summer slipped through our fingers so quickly. If we worked or attended professional development in the summer, we wonder if we should have rested more. Summer certainly should be a time for teachers to regroup, reevaluate, pursue hobbies and rejuvenate for another year in the classroom. After all, our journeys as teachers can be emotional, frustrating, bumpy and difficult, but we persevere because we are TEACHERS.
Whether you have just begun your first year or your 31st year in the classroom, I hope you always remember how important a teacher’s role is in our society. Being a teacher requires stamina, intelligence, collaboration, creativity, patience, hope and a proclivity to nurture the intellectual and social-emotional growth of our students. Teachers know and understand that there is great power when our students find and express their identities and use their collective voices to create change.
For many of our students, we are called to be more than just teachers. We must be advocates, superheroes, champions or beacons of light filtering through the storm on a rainy day. As the years pass, you may not remember every student’s name, but they will always remember you. Your words and actions do matter to your students. You matter. We could never fathom how far our influence on a student may reach. We could never fathom how one statement, one compliment or one word of advice could ultimately alter the course of their lives.
For the first time in my 24-year career as a history teacher in Toledo Public Schools, I am not with my beloved students in my classroom nor am I with my close colleagues and friends on a daily basis. I already miss them. This school year, I am embarking on a journey as the first teacher fellow at the Ohio Department of Education. I am excited and extremely thankful for this opportunity, but my students will always be first in my heart and mind. I will set forth on this teacher fellow journey determined to be an advocate for teachers and students — not just in my classroom and district but throughout the state.
I truly believe teachers are one of the greatest assets and gifts in American society today. We have the passion and ability to shape the hearts and minds of our students. This responsibility is unique to teaching and is unmatched in any other profession on earth. I hope you were able reflect on this fact over the summer and keep it at the front of your mind this school year — even during challenging days. I wish you all a peaceful and fruitful beginning to your school year.
Mona Al-Hayani was named the 2019 Ohio Teacher of the Year and is taking a year sabbatical from teaching history at Toledo Early College High School to work with the Department as the first OhioTeacher Fellow. You can contact Mona at Mona.Al-Hayani@education.ohio.gov.