By SHELLY WILKISON
A motivational message from Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath welcomed teachers new to the Liberty Hill ISD last week.
Morath, who was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott and took office in January 2016, called teaching “a profession of the highest order.”
“When I walk into Texas classrooms and I see teachers applying their trade, I am in awe,” he said. “Teachers are masters of their craft, managing 100 different variables at once, conducting an orchestra of learning.”
Morath was invited by Superintendent Rob Hart to address new faculty. He spoke for about 15 minutes on the opening day of professional development August 7.
Morath said Texas is “blessed to have angels working for us in our schools. We take every kid that comes to us, whether raised by the Huxtables — a doctor and a lawyer having dinner with the family every night — or whether raised by a single mom, or even the homeless. Regardless of what they have, we have to give kids our very best.”
He challenged teachers to find ways to “unleash their (students’) God-given potential.
“This is the challenge we face in public education. We have kids from all walks of life and we have to unleash a fire in them and equip them with everything they will need in life,” he said.
Morath, who attended public schools in Garland and went on to earn a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from George Washington University, served four years on the Board of Trustees of the Dallas Independent School district until his gubernatorial appointment.
He likened teachers to missionaries.
“I think we think of many of our teachers as missionaries, but teaching is much more than that,” he said.
“But just as we as a society thank teachers for their missionary zeal, there is this cliche that I hear over and over expressed in modern American that is infecting us like a virus — ‘those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach’. There’s no more destructive view of this profession than that.”
Morath did not address the political unrest in the Legislature regarding public education. State employees like Morath are prohibited from lobbying the Legislature and may only be used as a resource on points of fact.
Morath said he has started a social media campaign — #IAmTXEd — to share the stories of excellence in Texas classrooms. Posts are made weekly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram promoting the success of public school teachers.
“I’m just here today to say thank you for what you do, thank you for choosing this as your chosen profession, and thank you for helping the next generation of kids here in Liberty Hill have it better than the last,” he said.