The following words were delivered by Executive Director Jennifer Copeland on Friday, March 22 as the opening invocation of the North Carolina Association of Educators State Convention.
Gracious and loving God, the Christian tradition claims that when you made your dwelling place with humans, the believers called you “Teacher.” When the unjust systems of that day, both political and religious, sought to silence Christ’s message of truth, you erased their “no” with the “yes” of resurrection. And the very first person to see the resurrected Christ “. . . turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher)” (John 20:16).
And so it has always been, Teacher is among the most respected titles ever applied to any person. The people gathered in this room today already know that. We know we would not be who we are if not for the parade of teachers who offered guidance, provided encouragement, and supplied correction to us, all while teaching us how to read and do math, how to comprehend history and understand politics.
We also know that the education we’ve received is about more than the teachers in the classroom. It is also about the principals and the administrative staff, it is about the custodians and the food service providers, it is about the nurses and the counselors, it’s about the network that surrounded us and that surrounds every child who crosses the threshold of school.
Surround these educators today, great God, with the truth of their worth. May they know our gratitude as we show it through our actions and through our activism. Empower us all to unite with them for strong students, strong schools, and strong communities. Amen.