In a Class All Their Own

There’s never been a better time to thank a teacher.

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the 2019–2020 school year, sending home more than 50 million students and turning kitchens into classrooms overnight. Parents and guardians are grappling with how to balance their children’s schooling with work and other responsibilities.  They are seeing firsthand the role teachers play in their children’s lives as well as the dedication of these educators who are working around the clock to keep students engaged and on track.

At ETS, our understanding and respect for teachers runs deep, especially because so many of our staff members have spent years as educators themselves. This Teacher Appreciation Week is a particularly special time for us to recognize teachers for the heroic work they are doing for our children during the pandemic, as well as for the countless ways they prepared us to navigate challenges as adults. While social distancing has kept us apart, our team and families came together virtually to celebrate the educators who have made a difference to them — sharing videos, notes and photos expressing their gratitude.

The first inkling I had that I was a gifted writer was when my tenth-grade English teacher gave me an A+ on a fiction writing assignment and, in front of me in the school hallway, handed my paper to my world history teacher and urged him to read it. That surprising moment of recognition has stayed with me throughout my adult life.

~ Shelle Sumners, Senior Editor at ETS

From stories of perseverance in these strange times to pivotal sparks of knowledge and confidence, these submissions shed light on the extraordinary impact teachers have on our education and in our lives. In the best of times, they open doors to new possibilities, support us as we find untapped strength and give us the foundation to move forward on our individual journeys. Now, our teachers continue to inspire us, finding ways to broaden children’s minds and soothe weary souls.

“I bleed red ink.” This catchphrase personifies my journalism professor at the University of New Mexico, Professor Stuart Novins. If I hadn’t been exposed to his deep passion for journalism, I never would have found my calling as a newspaper reporter or second calling as an ELL assessment specialist and ESL teacher.

~ Robin Levinson, Assessment Specialist at ETS

From all of us at ETS, we want to thank the teachers who have shaped our past, are helping to steer our children’s present and who will share the gift of learning with future generations.

Perhaps Chelsea Ezzo, a Research Project Manager in our Office of Professional Standards, said it best: “Your current ’classroom’ may not look like one you imagined, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t still the teacher you’ve worked to become for so long.

“You are resilient, you are caring, and you are going the extra mile every single day. It’s okay if you’re tired. It’s okay if you don’t feel effective. This is a long game, and guess what? You are winning.”