It’s teacher appreciation week: I’ve donated wine to a fun basket, baked brownies for a luncheon, and bought a bag of apples for my son to hand out. As part of the festivities, I also helped my younger boys make cards and contribute to creative books and gifts put together by kind-hearted class moms. Both boys adore their teachers, but found it difficult to come up with much more than “she’s nice!” when trying to express why.
But I can, so I dedicate this post to teachers.
With 3 kids (ages 13, 9, and 7) I’ve dealt with scores of them. Like in any profession, some are terrific at their job, and some could use improvement. For the most part, my kids have had great teachers who enjoy what they do and engage their students.
Whenever I spend any time in a classroom or on a field trip, I marvel at how they do it every day. How they talk to kids like what they’re saying is vitally important even though it’s completely insignificant and/or random. Or how they’re able to teach the same material year after year and still make it fresh and exciting. Or how they take on the responsibility of forming kids’ minds and keeping them safe and happy, with diminishing resources and not enough pay.
Thank goodness teachers step up.
I feel lucky that each of my kids has had at least one teacher who will leave an imprint on how they learn, that special one they’ll remember forever. Some teachers just have a gift. Without even knowing it, they’ve set the standard for me for what’s possible in a classroom:
— Loving children: Unending patience, appreciating kids’ sense of wonder, and sympathizing with how they feel.
— Passion for teaching: Eager to help kids find their way, and always growing and incorporating new methods and tools.
— Ability to communicate with parents: Some teachers are great with kids but not parents, some the other way around. To be both is ideal, especially for working parents who can’t be in school.
— Creating a community in the classroom: The kids don’t all have to be best friends but they have to respect and support each other, listen, and cooperate to cultivate the best learning environment.
— Being creative about learning: Finding ways to captivate kids in games, projects, field trips, etc. that encourage learning in fun, unique ways.
— Getting my kid: I love it when teachers tell me even a tiny anecdote from class or point out a pattern or behavior they’ve noticed, that tells me they get my kid. They see him, hear him and know him.
My 7th grader seems to have some good teachers but in middle school there are many and my contact with them is very limited. But my 4th grader has 3 amazing teachers who have made him love going to school and fostered his natural curiosity and writing skills.
My 1st grader also has a special teacher whose classroom is a self-contained utopia of learning that produces confident, independent thinkers who are kind to each other.
She told me she’s wanted to be a teacher her whole life. Many teachers say that, but she has the proof. Check out her self-portrait from kindergarten:
This lovely piece of art is hanging in her classroom, as a reminder to her students that she was a kid once too, and that she worked hard and her dream came true.
How cool is that?
So to all teachers this week and always I say THANK YOU!!!