Last Chance To Thank Your Child’s Teacher

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.

school-2276269_960_720

 

Do Me a Solid and Show Some Love To a Teacher

I’ve taught high school English for twelve years.  I happen to work in a great district, my pay is nice, my hours are good, my benefits are adequate, and the vacations are ample.  Best of all?  I get to have a positive impact upon the world on a daily basis.  I have the opportunity to lead by example, to show young people the right way, and to be a role model.  I take those things seriously while having fun doing it.

So I’m not complaining about being a teacher.  I love being a teacher.  I think I’ve got one of the greatest jobs in the world.  But, like most jobs, I won’t say it’s easy.  The one thing I didn’t expect when I entered the profession is the emotional toll.  Engaging with nearly 125 teenagers every day is a roller coaster, and it’s sometimes challenging to remember that I’m the adult, I’m the professional, I’m the role model.

It gets especially hard around election time.  That’s when politicians like to use education as ammunition.  That’s when we hear our students aren’t good enough, our teachers aren’t good enough, and our schools aren’t good enough.  Politicians love to beat up on education because it’s something every American can relate to in some capacity.  We’ve all been to school, right?

And, like most jobs, teachers typically don’t hear much from the public unless something has gone wrong, unless there is a complaint of some sort.  Like I said, this isn’t unusual for any job, but I just wanted to point out that it’s true of education as well.

So here’s what I’m asking of you, here’s the solid I request.  If you have a child in school, please try to find something nice to say to the teacher about the job being done.  Even if you don’t have a child, please get in touch with a former teacher for whom you have positive memories and let them know they did right by you.  I can personally attest that these small gestures mean the world to educators and can do much to recharge the batteries, especially when considering the current month!

About once a semester, I get a personal note from a student.  The student often lets me know that they appreciated my efforts, my passion, my humor, or simply my kindness.  I cherish those letters.  I save them like they are bricks of gold.  I wont’ lie – I pull them out when things are a little rough and use them to bolster myself.

The gesture you show a teacher today could literally encourage them for years to come.

We all need a little cheering on from time to time, and teachers are no different.

Thanks for the solid.