First and foremost, THANK YOU for all you have done, are doing, and will do to help our Missouri students.  Thank you for all of the help you have given your colleagues.  Thank you for all that you have poured into the communities in which you live.  Thank you for being a part of our great organization, MSTA.  We are MSTA. 

There are events that happen in all of our lives that cause us to think, “How am I going to be able to do this?” or “Why did this happen?” or even “Are we going to make it through this?”.  Last spring our professional world  flipped upside down.   

Let’s talk about the “HOW”: 

To accomplish the “HOW”,  we need to lean on our team of colleagues to help one another so that we can better serve the students in our schools.  We also need each other for emotional and mental support each and every day.  Remember, we are a team.  We are MSTA. 

Now, let’s talk about “THE WHY” 

The need for the change seemed obvious at the time we all went to distance learning:  safety for all those involved in the process of education.  That statement explains the basics for why we went to distance learning, but I want to focus on a different “WHY”.   Think about it for a moment: 

Why did you help distribute meals to students who needed food? 

Why did you learn new technology to ensure learning was taking place for your students? 

Why did you email, text, and sometimes even go door to door to check on your students? 

It looked different this year, but your “why”  was the same: 

It’s why you make sure your students have the school supplies they need every day. 

It’s the reason you go to your students’ concerts and ball games. 

It’s why you are involved in MSTA at the local level and attend open hearings and state convention.  

WHY?…. because you are teachers, and teachers are some of the most selfless people  in the world.  YOU CARE FOR KIDS.  You want what is best for the young people in your community and across our great state.  You are impacting future generations and that is the reason you need to always remember your WHY.  Always remind yourself and your colleagues “THE WHY” we are in the business we are in.   

“WE WILL MAKE IT THROUGH THIS” 

Recently, I watched a video of a fellow educator reminding me of a choice we each make daily.   This choice is not determined by a score on a scoreboard.  This choice is determined by our attitude and our actions on a daily basis.  It is the passion we share with those in our lives everyday.  The choice is “To be a winner or not”.  We all make this decision on a daily basis.   Now, let me be clear.  There are going to be extremely difficult days we will face.  I am not expecting everything to be easy for us.  That is why we are in a team event.  We will need to help each other through the difficult circumstances and lean on each other for encouragement.  Our schools will look different moving forward.  However, we need to be unified to stand up for our kids and face the challenges head on.  I look forward to doing just that in serving as your next MSTA President Elect.  We will all be winners if we stay positive and focused on the task at hand.   

In times of chaos, tragedy and, now, pandemics, schools have always adapted to change and are better able to serve the students because of it.  In my 26 years of being in the classroom, there have been numerous changes.  There are too many to mention, but we as educators are better because of these changes.  I want to encourage each of you to stay positive and always, always remember your “WHY”.   

I am reminded of a scene from the movie Apollo 13.  

It’s the reentry phase of the mission and the commander at mission control is pointing out that NASA’s greatest tragedy is likely about to take place.   A lower ranking individual turns to the commander and says, “With all due respect, sir, I believe this is going to be our finest hour.” 

In spite of the challenges that all educators are currently facing, MSTA, I believe this is going to be our finest hour.   

We ARE MSTA!!!