On Monday, the Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce held their annual new teacher’s welcome luncheon at the Lighthouse Restaurant in Cedar Lake. The luncheon was put together in order to celebrate the new teachers entering the Crown Point, Merrillville, and Porter Township school systems.
Coming from a fun summer break, kids are not typically the most enthusiastic to being back in a desk with the teachers. To help this transition, the act of welcoming new teachers to the schools is important because they are now in a position that is sometimes underappreciated and very seldom recognized for the work that is put in.
“Today is the new teachers luncheon where we as the Chamber of Commerce take time to celebrate all of the new teachers that have been hired into the community,” said Michael White, Chairman of the Education Division for the Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We as a community want to respect teachers and appreciate what they are going to do. We understand how important education is.”
White stressed the importance of respecting and celebrating teachers, which was a theme throughout the lunch. Teachers could be seen laughing and networking at tables, sharing stories and excitement for the year to come. For many, this is the only formal recognition they will receive throughout the year, and one of the best chances for them to meet other teachers in the same position as them.
“It’s nice to be welcomed instead of being given just one day to adjust,” said Justin Givens, an incoming physical education teacher for Pierce Middle School in Merrillville. “I think it helps us find out that other people are going through the same thing, and that is really important so that we don’t feel like we’re going into this alone.”
The opportunity to meet other teachers was not lost on those in attendance. Teachers were placed at tables with those from their own school system, as well as the other school systems in the room. Representatives from community sponsors were also placed at various tables, allowing new teachers to meet members of the community as well.
New teachers were given a goody bag filled with items sponsored by local businesses. On each bag was a ticket, which was used to raffle off the door prizes, which were donated by local businesses. Both former and new staff reveled in their appreciation to better the ducation in the county.
“That belief that we have in our students makes a difference. When you make that relationship and that comment, that is embedded into the fabric of their lives. That’s a powerful job, you are touching the lives of these kids. We can’t take that lightly. I challenge you, don’t pick the kids where it’s easy to build a relationship with, find those kids that are difficult, that need that relationship most,” said Porter Township Superintendent Stacey Schmidt, Ph.D.
As the schoolyear begins, remember to thank a teacher for the hard work they put in to teaching students everywhere. Every age and class has a different challenge, but these teachers choose to meet those challenges head on and teach the future of our communities.