The first full week of May was Teacher Appreciation Week and as I forgot to sign up with the PTA to bring in a lunch dish to feed the amazing educators in my children’s lives, I started thinking back to the days I spent teaching in the classroom. Before I started living the dream here as a stay-at-home mom/freelance writer I was in the classroom five days a week. How many hours did I put into lesson plans, extension activities, grading papers, analyzing assessments. How many hands did I hold of parents as I explained the extent of their child’s disability and made promises to teach that child in any way possible? I wonder what the tally was for evening and early morning hours spent at conferences, IEPS training and staff meetings. I can honestly say that during those years I gave my students and their families my everything and my all. If there is such a thing as Karma, then it is safe to say it is playing back out for me in my life as a parent, because my daughters have landed the best, most dedicated teachers anyone could ever wish for.
These men and women help us raise our children five days a week, seven hours a day. They teach them their academics, they help them to be empathetic, kind and resilient. These educators wipe their tears, comfort them, ease their anxieties and fears and give them the hugs and encouragement that they need in order to become successful individuals and future contributors to society. Will there ever be a gift you could give during Teacher Appreciation Week that would come remotely close to showing our parental gratitude for all that they do?
This is why we need to do our best to make every week Teacher Appreciation Week. These people are our partners, because it truly does take a village to raise kids. Here are some ways that we can appreciate teachers all of the time, not just the first week in May. (Side note: This list by no means replaces the Starbucks gift card or box of candy that you might pick up for your kid’s teacher during Teacher Appreciation Week.)
Respect Their Time
When you develop such a close, working relationship with your kid’s teacher, sometimes the lines become blurred. It is easy to forget that they are not truly a part of your family and they might even have their own kin to return home to at the end of the day. Try and remember this next time you skip on through the classroom doors to discuss a lengthy non life-or-death matter well after the last bell has rung. If you walk into their classroom and they already have their purse on, or the lights off then tell them you’ll catch them tomorrow morning or write them an email. Of course if it is really an important matter it needs to most likely be addressed right then and there.