Teacher Appreciation Day is not for another couple of months, but why should we limit appreciating teachers to only one day out of the entire year? Let’s think about teachers and why they deserve all the appreciation, we can give them.
Somehow, I’ve surrounded myself with a lot of teachers in my life. My mom was a preschool teacher’s aide, my sister is a teacher, my mother in law is a retired teacher, friends, neighbors, and the list goes on. And frankly, I don’t think it’s by chance. Teachers are remarkable people. They are real. They don’t claim to know everything, but they usually know more than they let on. I’m not here to tell you teachers should be paid more (but really, they should), and they should have more support (they should), and all the other things that spark vicious debates about teachers. I’m just here to tell you the honest, from the heart, truth about teachers.
I’m not a seasoned veteran of the classroom, but I’ve spent ample hours in numerous classrooms throughout the years. First, I was a teacher’s aide. Next, I was a kindergarten teacher, and finally, a second-grade teacher. For as long as I can remember, teachers are given grief about how ‘easy’ their jobs are. The days they get off in a calendar year, and then “the whole summer off.” I’ll let you simmer on your thoughts about those topics, because like I said, I’m not here to spark debate.
So here it is, the truth about teachers. The teachers that welcome your children in their classroom every morning genuinely love your child. I cannot stress that enough – THEY LOVE YOUR CHILD. You might think love is a strong word here, but it’s true. Why else would they spend their own money to make sure that they have everything they need to ‘spice’ up a lesson to make it more exciting? Why would they seek out opinions or help from other teachers in their building to make sure that your child is supported in the way that fits him best? Why would they bring loads of papers to grade, lamination to cut out, and curriculum books to read to their own home on all the days off? And why would they spend days/weeks at conferences or at professional development during their summer ‘off?’ It’s out of love, that’s why.
Currently, I am not a classroom teacher. Every day in the classroom was not rainbows and butterflies, but there was, every single day, laughter. There were smiles. Friendships were being made, tears were being dried, and conflicts were being worked through. I look back on all my days, and so many memories fill my mind; so many truly good and genuine memories. Rarely do I think about the hard days filled with meetings, planning, or shelter in place drills; but instead, I think about the times in my classroom when it was just my students and I, turning math problems into games, spreading kindness with a paper ‘snowball fight,’ or taking a little mental break with GoNoodle. These memories of my days with my students are so valuable to me. Each year, each group of students was so special. Setting up my classroom each summer was like getting ready to bring a new baby home. Creating a unique place, just for those students, where they are comfortable, felt safe, and felt LOVED. Then each June as the students moved on and I began taking faded construction paper off my walls, I felt sorrow. I knew I would see those kids in the halls the next year, but having them all together, with me, in our special place was over. I loved our time together. I was excited about the new group I would soon meet, but that does not mean I did not mourn the year we just grew together.
I can’t tell you how to feel about teachers and I can’t change your mind if you already have an opinion. But what I can do is sit here and write, from the bottom of my teacher heart, and tell you the honest truth about teachers. We love your kids, and we truly give it our all to make sure that your child is heard. We make sure your child is comfortable. And we make sure that your child is felt loved in a place they spend so much of their time.