With the beginning of the 2013–2014 academic year, SUNY Buffalo State is beginning its celebration of the Year of the Teacher.
“Buffalo State has always cared about and believed in teachers,” said Wendy Paterson, dean of the School of Education.
At an event called “Festival of the Teachers ” on June 23, 1866, leading Western New York citizens urged the creation of a normal school—a school for preparing teachers to work in public schools—in Buffalo. That school, known as the State Normal and Training School, opened its doors to its first class in 1871. Grover Cleveland, who later became president of the United States, was on its first local Board of Trustees.
From its very beginning, Buffalo State’s leaders intended to establish not only the teaching preparation offered by the typical normal school of the time, but also a college curriculum offering “the degrees usually conferred on graduates of colleges.” To a remarkable degree, today’s Buffalo State fulfills the vision of its founders.
“We want to celebrate teachers and the many ways teaching takes place,” said Paterson. “This is not just a celebration for the School of Education, but for all the ways we teach students on this campus—through the arts, through undergraduate research, and through hands-on experience in the professional programs we offer.”
Therefore, the Year of the Teacher will celebrate not just the preparation of Buffalo State's classroom teachers but the teaching of all of its students. The initiative will also honor the many ways Buffalo State’s faculty, staff, students, and alumni teach new skills and present opportunities to each other, to the community, and to the college’s international community.
“Teaching—passing on knowledge, customs, values, and beliefs—is integral to what it means to be a responsible, nurturing human being,” said Paterson. “It is never easy, but it is always worthwhile. During this year, we intend to celebrate the effort that goes into teaching and the joy that comes from seeing students acquire a new understanding that enriches their world.”