Children are very observant. They notice a new selection of books placed against the chalkboard, a slight change in the classroom, as well as a butterfly clip pulling back a long lock of hair worn by the classroom teacher. “You must live here!” says a child in the class. “You are the last one to leave and arrive way before the buses start coming. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you walk in or out of the school. Why?”
To a classroom teacher, her profession isn’t dictated by a time period. The day ends once the phone calls to parents are made, plans for the remaining week are tweaked, student data is tracked, and the large stack of papers has dwindled down to nothing. While most professionals worry about deadlines and presentations, meetings, and then anticipating a quiet evening at home, teachers will endlessly worry about the children who don’t own a coat or have anyone to read to at home. They will think of new ways to convey a lesson to reach those children who are easily distracted or need inspiration. It’s not a profession, instead, teaching is a vocation.
From the hours of 7:45 am to 3 pm, parents know their child is directed by organized schedules, information and rules. The day is dictated by starts and stops, presenting and voicing ideas, thinking quietly and working independently. How often do parents think about the individual who is spending time with our children? The truth may be that parents think about the happiness of their child by listening to the stories, the situations, and the outcome. Parents may measure learning through returned papers and tests, and by the type of assignments either presented as homework or completed in class; yet, how often are teachers given a simple note of thanks or told an anecdotal story to boost their day?
What do teachers say?
Lisa Daniels, a teacher of ten years, writes, “As a classroom teacher, I felt a great connection with my students. I heard countless stories of their siblings and parents. Sharing is constant; yet, the professional boundaries do not allow teachers to share openly with parents. The divide is challenging. It would be nice to hear positive comments from our parents in lieu of just receiving a call when there is a difficulty or question.”
Mrs. Bullins has worked in the school system for over 20 years. As a middle school teacher, Bullins writes, “It’s wonderful when parents come to see what we have been doing at school. Our students have great pride and enthusiasm to show off their portfolios, art projects, or theater presentations. We want parents to participate in every event from talent shows to seasonal potlucks. Now, is a good time to volunteer. We always need assistance in big and small ways. We welcome parents and grandparents! It is one way to help your child and his or her class become successful! Please, contact your child’s school to see how your help is needed.”
Ms. Cooke, a fifth-grade teacher, writes, “The best way to thank a teacher is not to give presents, but to write a note, for example! We want to hear from parents. Their feedback helps us to improve our teaching style, and to encourage your child. We want to hear the anecdotal stories, too. Teachers often go home and tell their families about their students. For one year, we are all an extension of family.”
Teacher Appreciation week begins Monday, May 7th, and spans the week until Friday, May 11th. The week-long celebration is a time of recognition of teachers and their contributions to education. It provides an opportunity for students and their parents to show support and appreciation. While chocolate and flowers are a kind gesture, the best gift of all comes from the heart…a hand-written note! Recount a great story or mention an inspirational assignment. The words will bring a smile and a chance for a teacher to hear positive words. And, don’t stop there! Keep sending notes. You’ll find the teacher will start openly sharing with you, too! The best feeling of appreciation is for teachers to know the parents are openly communicative and supportive! Happy Teacher Appreciation Week Teachers; today and always!