Happy Teacher Appreciation Week, Y’all! Ironically, this very special five days comes just before we start high stakes testing in many parts of the country. I saw parents all up in the Wal-Mart last weekend stocking up on chocolate and Starbucks cards to send to teachers at various points this week. One parent jokingly asked me if wine was an appropriate thing to send.
Aside from being against a few policies, wine is very appropriate, particularly this test-heavy time of the year. But why bother with all the chocolate? Why should we appreciate teachers? Here are ten reasons.
1. Most educators probably spent a good chunk of the weekend planning for their students’ upcoming week at school.
Nope—those lesson plans won’t write themselves. It takes a long time to write in all those standards and make sure that all the learning goals and success criteria and assessments and outcomes fit in as well.
2. Those lesson plans need to be perfect.
Even though it’s Teacher Appreciation Week, your children’s teachers will probably have to upload those lesson plans to the school server. This is so that the principals can analyze all the aforementioned points before he/she does a walk-through to make sure that the teaching is up to par. Personally, I’m all good with feedback from my principals. Their ideas and suggestions can really improve my practice. In a school where administration does not share a collegial relationship with staff, these observations can be stressful at best and downright terrifying at worst.
3. Planning time is scarce, even during Teacher Appreciation Week.
In all fairness, your children’s teachers probably had only one or two planning blocks during this week. Their other blocks were filled with parent, principal, and colleague meetings. These school meetings take place to disaggregate mountains of data on children’s progress in order to develop the best possible instructional strategies for the best possible outcomes for all kids. This is why teachers work at night and on weekends.
4. Teachers deal with negative press on a regular basis.
During this Teacher Appreciation Week, your children’s teachers may or may not have opened the opinion section of the local newspaper only to see their profession denigrated. In some cases, the educators themselves may have been targeted by name for opinions expressed in support of schools and kids in the division. It’s one thing to tear apart an issue—it’s a whole other ball of hatefulness to call someone out personally in a public forum. But it happens.
5. Despite the haters, teachers keep speaking up for kids.
In response to all the negativity, your children’s teachers may have been out at county meetings speaking on behalf of the school system to ensure that the academics, programs, and sports that help your children are fully funded. Your children’s teachers may have stumbled in from one of those late meetings in time to kiss their own sleeping children and fall into bed.
6. Your children’s teachers probably volunteer in some capacity within the community.
They may teach Sunday School, coach a youth sport, or help provide meals for elderly folks. Educators know the needs of the areas where they teach, and they want to do all they can to fill them.
7. In addition to all their other civic duties, your children’s teachers probably work a second job to supplement their incomes.
Many of us sell teaching materials on sites like Teachers Pay Teachers. This way we teacher-parents don’t have to pay extra for baby-sitting. Other friends and colleagues wait tables or work retail. The single parents among them sometimes trade baby sitting services to offset costs. Childcare is so high that it can negate any extra money made from a second job.
8. Your children’s teachers worry about this year’s students and countless others.
They may be feeding snacks to kids they know have had no breakfast. They may be bringing clothes for students in need.
9. Rest assured that your children’s teachers care deeply about the students in their care.
These educators want to make sure to give your child every academic advantage possible. Teachers stress over that mountain of data mentioned earlier because they want to make sure that each child makes every ounce of growth possible.
10. Your children will now and forever more be one of these teachers’ “kids.”
Once a child has sat in one of our classrooms, we refer to that kid as ours. We often have to differentiate between our “home kids” and our “school kids” when we have conversations with others. Some of us may have 25 special kids; many of us may have 2500. No matter how many we have, we still get so excited when students come back and tell us how they’re doing. We celebrate their accomplishments no matter when they happen.
We are all truly honored to have played a part in your children’s lives. Whether we get chocolate during Teacher Appreciation Week or not, we remain dedicated to our mission. Teachers take this calling to educate very seriously. We value your child’s mind, but we know that the way to inspire them to become lifelong learners is through their hearts.