Teacher Appreciation Week: Teachers Create Community

Mark Mitsui | Start the discussion

On this, the beginning of Teacher Appreciation Week, I have been thinking a great deal about the challenges and promise of plural democracy.

All of us who are committed to improving our communities through education know that teachers are on the proverbial front lines of building democracy’s college. Everyday, teachers help to make our communities, our region, indeed our country, more equitable and inclusive, and more truly democratic.

Our teachers facilitate the learning of academic content, but by both necessity and empathy, they do so in deeply thoughtful, culturally responsive ways. The community college context calls for teaching and learning practices that are participatory and collaborative — in a way that fosters connection.

Whether community college students are learning Math, Writing, Sociology, Fire Science, or Welding, they are also learning the necessary literacies for engaging in their communities and in the world.

Through the facilitation of learning by community college teachers, our students are also developing civic literacies: communicating effectively across difference, self-reflection, collaboration and critical thinking.

So often, educators are drawn to this profession not only because they love teaching — but because they love learning. Educating our teachers is a responsibility of democracy’s college.

Last week, PCC hosted an educator’s summit, sponsored by PCC’s Office of Equity and Inclusion, on culturally responsive pedagogy through the lens of equitable student success. Over 150 teachers and educators from across the region—from community colleges and public universities, from librarians and student support service directors to tenured professors—came together to think more deeply about education for social justice.

I am so proud to be a part of these efforts toward building a regional community of practice around educational opportunity and equity, and proud that PCC continues to be a leader in this area.

This Teacher Appreciation Week, I honor our community college instructors and educators. Thank you for your passion and your calling. Thank you for your commitment to our students and to your craft. Thank you for the central role you play in shaping and strengthening our communities.

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