This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. According to the Arkansas Department of Education, we currently have 33,282 certified school teachers in Arkansas. Day in and day out, they instruct, care for, discipline, inspire and interact with our children. My wife is a teacher and I know how hard she works to give kids the best of her knowledge, talent and energy. Teaching is an incredibly vital profession that often doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves. None of us would be where we are today without a teacher.
One of my favorite things about being Lieutenant Governor is getting to visit schools all across Arkansas. Each school is unique and I’ve seen many very creative programs designed to teach kids in a new way or expose them to new challenges and ideas. All of their success depends on having good teachers who can communicate with students and help them reach and realize their potential. School boards, administrators, school staff and parents are all vital to our education system as well, but there would be no system without the teachers themselves.
It is also National Nurses Week and we can’t say enough about what they do for all of us. Whether they are helping newborn babies, caring for terminally ill patients, or just making someone more comfortable during a routine medical visit, nurses are an indispensible part of our healthcare system. They save lives every day. They don’t get medals nor are they honored in big ceremonies when they do so, but they go home and come back to work each day to do it again. It takes a special kind of commitment and compassion to do what they do.
Teachers and nurses are unsung heroes who give so much of themselves to their work. They should never be thankless jobs. They are tiresome jobs, however, and we need to make sure that we are incentivizing those who are in these professions because we need more people who are willing to go into education and medical fields.
Please say thanks to the men and women you know who are either teachers or nurses. They need to know that their work is appreciated and that they are making a difference.
Finally, I want to say a word of congratulations to my friend and our Arkansas State Auditor Charlie Daniels. He announced this week that he will be retiring after his current term ends, after a career in public service. He started out getting elected Parker’s Chapel School Board in 1972. Then, he became Director of the Arkansas Department of Labor. He was elected Land Commissioner in 1985 and served in that capacity for 18 years. Following that, he served two terms as Secretary of State, prior to becoming Auditor. In addition to all of this, he also served honorably in the United States Air Force. In my time as Lieutenant Governor, Charlie Daniels has been a true gentleman to me and one of my favorite people at the Capitol. I’ve not met one person, Democrat or Republican, that doesn’t love him. He has served the state well and I wish him many happy years with his family in retirement.