You’re Remarkable, You’re Inspiring, You’re Appreciated

By Lillian Lowery

As the middle of three girls growing up in North Carolina in the ‘60s, I was fortunate to have the support of a close-knit family. I was raised during the school year by a single mother who gave me my emotional IQ and I got my intellectual IQ spending summers with my Dad.

Everybody worked hard. I worked in the cotton mills during summers and quickly realized, you better study hard Lillian, because this is not your calling! But those summers made me appreciate hard work and the people who wake up every day and do this. It’s not easy.

So I always push people because people pushed me. I was a no-excuses teacher. Someone once asked one of my students, “How is she, is she a good teacher?” They said, “Oh, she’s nice — until you make her mad.”

I believe in having high expectations for every child. If they are not exposed to a rigorous curricula, they will not be prepared for college.

~ Dr. Lillian Lowery

My first priority is always the child. As a teacher, you need to build relationships with your kids. It’s about going to their games, being a newspaper advisor and a cheerleader coach. My kids saw me in other spaces and places (besides the classroom). The community saw I valued their kids so I was accepted beyond question. The kids knew I cared about them and their parents knew I cared.

I believe in having high expectations for every child. If they are not exposed to a rigorous curricula, they will not be prepared for college.

My advice to teachers is know what policies guide your life every day — don’t just show up as a bunch of lemmings. Then challenge the policies that will govern your day and that will govern teaching and learning. There are plenty of ways to show muscle and power without walking out of schools and having kids miss instructional days. Make changes in situations that you can control. Don’t get caught up in the big picture and lose focus on what you love most about the job.

And this job, this passion of ours, is what we’re celebrating. Teacher Appreciation Week is a time for us practitioners to take a moment and reflect on this rewarding, wonderful, remarkable profession, and see that you’re making a difference. Yes, we formally celebrate this week, but know that your dedication to your students is recognized each and every day by us at ETS.