Sunday, May 11, 2014

"Continue to vote no confidence for ANY superintendent, school board, and policymaker that tells you that you are the problem instead of listening to you for the solutions. No amount of technology will ever replace you because our students need humanity more than they need technology. The true assessment of your work will not be a single score tied to an evaluation, or what is written about you in the Standard Times or the Republican, but the future of our world in the years to come." - MA Teacher of the Year

Good morning. 

First I'd like to thank Paul Toner and the MTA for inviting me to speak today. It's the end of Teacher Appreciation Week, so before I begin, I just wanted to take a moment and thank some teachers. My fourth grade teacher, Mr. St. John is here today from New Bedford. You didn't know this at the time, but I was growing up in a house where my father told me that, “I should use my head for something other than a hatrack” and that when “God asked for brains I thought he said trains and said no thanks I have a set”. If he wasn't pleased with the homework I did, he'd rip it up and if he really lost his temper he'd throw me against something solid. He was  a social worker. Your class came with mandatory membership into the  Stamp Club. That hour that we spent in the cafeteria each week looking at stamps was one extra hour that I didn't have to go home. Your class was the first one where I began to realize that school could save my life.  Thank you for giving me a counter narrative from the one I received at home. A quick thank you to Mr. David Pepin and Ms. Deb Borden for giving me the space and the confidence to write, and to encourage me to keep doing so. Mr. Pepin pushed me into AP English and Ms. Borden made me the editor of the Alpha, our creative writing magazine. Their passion and enthusiasm for all things literature was infectious. I'm thankful for catching what they had.   


Anonymous said...

A teacher affects eternity; She (or he!) can never tell where his influence stops.”

Anonymous said...

A genuine smile is easy to detect. What a great tribute to you Lou, and our amazing New Bedford teachers. I hope you are still smiling!

Anonymous said...

Every once in a while, I have to remember to be humble and recognize that some people feel real dissonance when they hear that they are being strung along through education "reform." Yes, truth can be painful.

But, all the same, these times are too volatile and important to allow people to remain in the dark--no matter how comfortable that darkness may be--no matter how much they fight, no matter how much they try to discredit and hurt you. The truth always trumps loyalties to false leaders and false claims, and the truth always wins if you give it a chance.

Keep speaking the truth.

Kris Nielsen

Anonymous said...

Words spoken from the MA TOY have never been so important. Thank you for speaking out with us.