Within the Teacher Leader Network, one of the discussions we have had is about the portrayal of teachers in movies and other media.  The popular myth is that great teachers are rare, and awful or mediocre teachers are the norm.

On this Teacher Appreciation Day, however, I would argue that great teachers are not as rare as it might seem—they’re just harnessed.

Ask any adult and you will get the name of at least one great teacher.

Every year, since 1952, the Council of Chief State School Officers has recognized Teachers of the Year from each state and a National Teacher of the Year.

The Milken Family Foundation has surprised over 2,200 outstanding teachers from around the nation with checks for $25,000.

Many other businesses recognize great teachers, from Walt Disney to Oprah Winfrey.

Since its inception, 55,000 teachers have earned National Board Certification—the highest, standards-based, peer review recognition available verifying that they are accomplished educators.

Local PTAs, news stations, community groups, and millions of parents thank the special teachers in their schools regularly.

These are just the ones we know about.

So…if there are so many wonderful teachers around, why are our schools in such bad shape? Maybe it’s time for a freedom movement. What if we not only honored our great teachers, but gave them professional opportunities that encouraged more teachers to reach their full potential in the classroom? That’s part of the thinking behind our Teacher Solutions report on Performance-Pay for Teachers.

Thanks for the apple, but treat me and pay me like a professional.

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