If you’ll indulge me …
My wife is the absolute best. She goes so far above and beyond in thanking our children’s teachers during “Teacher Appreciation Week” — it’s amazing. Classroom teachers, librarians, administrators, office support staff, coaches, Girl Scout troop leaders, Sunday school teachers — everyone gets a little token of appreciation. Furthermore, she develops a cute theme to go along with the gift. This year everyone got an Amazon gift card decorated as though it was a special delivery by our girls. I asked her to count up how many gift cards she doled out. I wasn’t upset, just curious. The number? About twenty-two (at last count).
By the way … my wife is a teacher.
She gets it.
She understands the emotional stamina, the intrinsic motivation, and the sheer patience necessary to be a teacher. She knows that by the end of the year, every teacher needs a little show of appreciation.
By the way, I’m a teacher, too.
I teach about 130 students a day. I received not one “thank-you” from a student’s family during “Teacher Appreciation Week.”
I get it.
Hey, I’m busy, too. I won’t pretend that I’d have taken over thanking my daughters’ teachers if my wife decided to take the year off. I forgot it was “Teacher Appreciation Week” during the actual week — and I am a teacher! Trust me, if you haven’t thanked your child’s teacher, you’re not alone. I’m personally just as guilty.
The point of this is to tell you that it’s not too late.
Yesterday, several of my creative writing students went out of their way to tell me how much the class meant to them. Today, two students came up to shake my hand and tell me “thanks.” It meant the world to me.
Listen, I don’t entirely fall into the “I’d teach for free I love it so much!” category, but I also recognize that teachers make more money than a lot of people, have more vacation time than a lot of people, and enjoy more benefits than a lot of people. But I’m here to tell you, folks — it’s a demanding job. Not physically, but emotionally? You bet. Mentally? Absolutely. There’s no down time when you have a room full of children or teenagers. There’s no mentally checking out. Teachers are constantly monitoring and assessing.
You know how “busy” it can get when your child has friends over? Imagine a room full of that. Imagine coaxing them along through the power of personality. Imagine talking, thinking, managing, and assessing all at the same time while also trying to be interesting enough to capture thirty children’s interest. Let me tell you — it’s tough. I’m sure you can imagine.
So, here’s what I propose — thank your child’s teachers. Right now. Send a little email. Even if you you weren’t all that impressed with them, drop them a little note at least letting them know you appreciate their efforts. If you thought your child had a great year, by all means, tell them as much! It doesn’t have to be in-depth. Just a note.
Trust me, it will make a huge difference to the teacher. What a wonderful way to say goodbye, right?
Thanks for indulging me.