Teacher Appreciation Week

First, “teacher appreciation” seems to be an oxymoron these days, but we’ll move on. I know a lot of you parents love your children’s teachers.

As a former teacher, I can only speak for myself. I’ll start with saying that the teachers I worked with, and the ones I know, are not whiners. In my experience, they’re not lazy, and they aren’t in the profession because they don’t know how to do anything else. For the most part, teachers don’t suffer from burn-out because of the students, but because of the ridiculous policies that are put in place that keep them from teaching.

So, in honor of your week, I’d like to thank all the teachers who helped raise (for those or you who prefer “rear,” even William Safire says “raise” is okay) my children over the years. In so many ways, you contributed to the fabulous people they are today.

  • Thank you to the elementary school counselor who would grab my son in a bear hug when he would run away across the playground because he didn’t want to go to first grade. I’m sure there were other duties that you could have been attending to.
  • Thank you to the high school math teachers who stayed after school for as long as it took to get my children to understand a concept.
  • Thank you to the speech teacher who told my quiet daughter that her voice mattered, and gave her the confidence to speak out.
  • Thank you to the AP and IB teachers who spent so much time and energy making their classes challenging and interesting with projects and inquiry based learning. I fear that high-stakes standardized testing is making this type of teaching a thing of the past.
  • Thank you to the history and English teachers who taught my children to write and to think critically about what they read. Thank you for showing them how to recognize reliable sources.
  • Thank you to the language teachers who made it possible for my children to speak, read, write and think in a different language.
  • Thank you to the teachers who were kind to my children when they were having a bad day.
  • Thank you to the teachers who took the time to understand that each child is an individual, with unique talents and sometimes surprising insights.

I know that you work long hours and have too many students to try to reach each and every day. I know that, too often, you are treated not as professional educators, but as workers who must be told how to do your job by people who are not professional educators. I know that too often you are the people paying to help a student’s family who may be going without electricity, or you are the shoulder to cry on when a student is suffering at home, or you are the person on the front lines when a child with emotional or mental illness needs help. I know that you often work without proper equipment or enough books or materials. I know you feel it personally when a student fails, or is labeled by a test. I know, because I have been you, and I bailed out. If you’re still teaching, you’re much strong that I am. Thank you for all you do for all of our children.

Categories: Editor’s Blog, Features