By Chris Kieffer
TUPELO – A former Mississippi State University football player told Lee County teachers to find their motivation.
“You as teachers mean more than you even realize,” said Tyson Lee, who was a quarterback at MSU in 2008 and 2009. “You are the fabric of the community.”
Lee was the district’s keynote speaker during an orientation session at The Summit on Friday morning. The meeting drew about 850 educators and other staff members as the district prepares to open school on Thursday.
Lee, who now works for the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization, challenged those present to think about what moves them, what they want their legacy to be and their reasons for being teachers.
“As a teacher, there has to be something in you that drives you and pushes you when things get tough,” he said.
The district’s teachers returned to work on Thursday to attend training sessions on their campuses. They will have more training next week, prior to the return of students. Superintendent Jimmy Weeks said it was important to gather all of the district’s staff together in one place on Friday.
“We do it to establish camaraderie across the district,” Weeks said. “We hope these teachers are aware their job is one of the most important jobs that exists. We want them to know how important they are and that we appreciate what they do and respect what they do.”
Weeks spoke to the teachers about dangers involving social media, reminding them not to use it during the school day or to post negative comments about students.
He also told them it is important to be educated about the votes their legislators take and their impact on public education. Other speakers including a representative of Mississippi Professional Educators and Nancy Loome of The Parents Campaign, also talked about the importance of being engaged with the Legislature.
“Our needs in this district are big, but if we don’t do what we should as responsible citizens and employees and educate ourselves on these issues, we don’t have room to complain,” Weeks said.
Other topics Friday included the ExPECT organization that raises money for classroom programs, the National Board Certified Teacher program, ways to improve student teaching and what the district offers for English Language Learners and for homeless students.