As I watch the baseball all star game tonight with my son, I can't help but notice the embellishments on the players' uniforms - gold patches, gold stitching on their hats, gold-bottom cleats - it's hard to miss. I also can't help but think of all the people who got them to this day - parents, teachers, coaches, and friends. It truly is a celebration of hard work and talent, and they are celebrating it with blitz that shines right through the television screen.
There is another kind of hard work and talent that does not receive such sparkle. Tonight, I would like to give a gold patch to every teacher who has worked tirelessly on fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills to move a child more than two years worth of reading growth in a single academic year. I would like to add gold stitching to the hats of teachers who have helped students love math and see beyond the numbers to the beautifully complex problems those numbers help us solve. I would like to gift special socks to the science teachers who encourage students to experiment, get messy, and learn from their mistakes. I would add just a little more shine to the shoes of social studies teachers who encourage kids to walk in others' shoes, embrace their perspective, and become a stronger human being for it.
Thank you to the teachers who help each of us reach our goals. However you are spending your summer - vacationing, reading, engaging in professional learning, teaching summer school, or all of the above - I hope you are doing something that makes your soul shine. You deserve it.