A Message of Gratitude during Teacher Appreciation Week

May 10, 2023
Teacher Appreciation Week GettyImages-1483004404

Dear Faculty Members,

During this Teacher Appreciation Week — my first serving as your Interim Provost — I want to take a moment to thank you for your tireless efforts serving our students. While the public often pictures teaching as those moments when you stand before a class and lecture about things you know and love, we know that it is so much more. It requires hours of planning — imagining the most effective ways to help your students learn, and hours of grading — all while attending to the specific needs of students whose ways of understanding and whose needs are all unique. It often requires hours of developing online content and interactive online experiences to ensure all students can stay engaged in their learning. It also requires you, the teacher, to be in a constant state of learning as no field remains stagnant. 

As you are receiving this message, I imagine many of you are in the middle of hours and hours of grading as our semester draws to a close. You are witnessing, in real time, the degree to which your students understand and can apply all that you taught them this semester. Hopefully you see how they are making connections between classes and their experiences.

For others, you are witnessing phenomenal performances and artwork your students have completed this semester and reflecting upon their development as artists. Others are seeing how students’ internships have prepared them for their lives beyond graduation. You’ve been able to see them transform from students into professionals.

Many of you are writing letters of recommendation for jobs and graduate schools and know your students will thrive moving forward because of the foundation they received from you and your colleagues here at NJCU.

It is often easy to lose sight of the magnitude of impact you have on the lives of your students as you juggle the work required at the end of the semester. I’ve had the honor of hearing stories from students who have shared how much you mean to them and how you have changed their lives.

I’ve also heard from many alumni whose memories always center around their professors. Throughout higher education, it is all too easy for administrators to neglect recognizing your hard work. Moving forward, we are committed to honoring your work year round. You’ll soon hear about opportunities in the fall to showcase your work and connect with the community outside of the classroom. Ken Robinson makes a compelling argument:

To improve our schools, we have to humanize them and make education personal to every student and teacher in the system. Education is always about relationships. Great teachers are not just instructors and test administrators; they are mentors, coaches, motivators, and life-long sources of inspiration to their students.

Thank you for mentoring and inspiring our students. Thank you for creating life-long relationships with so many. Your impact will be felt for years to come.


Donna Adair Breault, Ph.D.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs
New Jersey City University