I write this post not as an educator, but as a parent of 4 young children. 4 young children that despite our insistence are all growing up. 4 young children that have hopes and dreams bursting out of them and none of them involve sitting still. 4 young children that will all have teachers that will shape them into the future of our country.
So to all those teachers that have or will have our 4 children; thank you. Because teaching can be a lonely job. Teaching can be exhausting. Teaching can make you cry and lose your faith. Teaching can make you fight so hard for something that may or may not make a difference and yet you keep on fighting because there is a chance that it just might. You keep on fighting even though the kids you call “your kids” are not really yours and may not even remember you when they are adults.
To all those teachers that will take the time it takes to really know our children, thank you. For the time you will spend pondering what will make our child learn better, fit in, be happy, and love school. For the time you will spend planning lessons that will protect their curiosity and their personality. For the time you will spend meeting with others to discuss the needs of my children so that school will work for them. For all of the little things you will do that they may never notice, just because you think it might make their day better.
To all those teachers who fight behind closed doors or out loud as they see the injustice happening in our public school system. To all of those teachers who dare to speak up. To all those teachers who cannot stay quiet when the love of learning may be damaged, when the love of reading may be killed. To all of you; thank you, because without you there would be no promise of a better day. No promise of a better way.
So when you feel worn out. When you feel it doesn’t matter. When you feel like you have the most thankless job in the world; remember this… That kid you helped that day. That student that you stood up for. That colleague you helped give courage to. You made a difference in their day. You made a difference in their life. So thank you for loving your job. For making our oldest daughter believe that teaching is the very best job there is because “You get to have fun every single day, mom.” For making this terrified parent believe even more in the power of all teachers to help all children, even the toughest ones. I see it, we see it, and we are so grateful.
Thank you for making our oldest daughter believe she is a reader, that she is a writer, an artist, a person whose opinion matters. For helping her see her learning preferences not as obstacles but as opportunities. For letting us know how we could best help her and for having a world of patience with her when she got frustrated. Thank you for simply seeing her as a whole person rather than the labels we can so easily attach.
So this teacher appreciation week, I hope others will reach out as well and not just say thanks for the big things, but thanks for all of the small ones too. Being a teacher is not just about the time you stand in the classroom, but the life you live, the choices you make. So thank you for seeing more than what the data shows and the test says. For being more than we could ever hope for.