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Thank you teachers!

Updated on July 11, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Song

National Teacher's Day - May 7, 2013

What was so special about this past May 7th - It was National Teacher’s Day! In fact, the month of May includes one week known as Teacher Appreciation Week. Most of us have had at least one teacher that seemed to go above and beyond the duty of teaching. Do you remember who that teacher was in your life? Why not take a few seconds to send a note of appreciation? Even a quick “Thank You” card could brighten their day. It doesn't have to be May or Teacher Appreciation Week, or even Teacher Appreciation day to show someone who has made a difference in your life that you appreciate their hard work!

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

~Henry Adams

As a former classroom teacher, Henry Adams’ quote rings true. We do not know where our influence stops. I see students around town sometimes, but you really never know if you’ve made a difference in their life. I certainly hope I have affected my students in a positive way; but the truth is – I just don’t know. Does your community honor their teachers? If not, why not start a program this year? It could be something as simple as having business owners adding simple words to their electronic signs or hanging a few banners around town that say “Thank a teacher today!” or “Happy Teacher’s Day!” Maybe a local bakery could send some doughnuts or cookies to the teacher’s lounge. How about the local grocery store sending a fruit basket to the lounge to show appreciation for the local school teachers?

“It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.”

~Dan Rather

I remember several teachers that have made a huge difference in my own life. I regret that I am not able to thank them now as many of them have already passed from this life or have moved out of the area and I’ve lost contact. There is one that comes to mind, though. Although I didn’t realize it was a privilege at the time – I had this teacher for 3 different grades; 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade! Later, when I completed my own teaching degree, I remember this teacher was a little sad when I didn’t do my student teaching under her supervision. And even a few years after that, I had the privilege of teaching at the same school alongside this educator (who was still a great teacher and loved by her students). As I reflected back through some of the memorabilia I’ve gathered over my life, I realized that this specific educator had been involved in several moments of my life. I’ve also learned that I was not the only student that she sent cards to or congratulated on accomplishments. In fact, looking back at my classmates that studied under her watchful eye for three years, I’ve also realized just how many of us went into some type of field where education or helping others is the primary task. I can think of at least 2 other teachers, a few counselors, and hospital workers came out of that one small class. So, thank you, Mrs. Phyllis Craig, for making a large impact on the lives of all of for those 3 years!

“Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.”

~Jacques Barzun

Teaching is not an easy task, and the teacher’s job is much more than most people realize. When do you think they grade those assignments? How many times have you seen a teacher at a school event after hours? It seems like we hear about all the bad things teachers are doing these days from the news or other media, it becomes disheartening. If the news media is not reporting about the teacher that received the DUI, they report on how the schools are failing to meet standards, or the negative publicity of why a superintendent was dismissed. I wonder what would happen if the media started posting all the great things our teachers were doing for our children and in our community.

Need some ideas on things you can do for National Teacher’s Day? How about these:

  1. Get involved: Petition for things important for education. Do you know how much funding has been cut from early childhood education? This seems strange to me that we would cut this funding when current research shows more and more students are not prepared for Kindergarten.
  2. Nominate a teacher: There are several ways you can help recognize teachers with awards. The Grammy’s Music Educator Award nomination deadline has already passed for this year – but details should be coming out for the 2014 award soon. Check your area for local teacher recognition opportunities. Wal Mart typically has a program, and our local Chamber of Commerce honors a teacher every year at their awards dinner.
  3. Show you care: Do you have some spare time where you could help a teacher? Even if it is just to come into the classroom and read a book, or run off copies; any little action – or even just the offer to help in some way is greatly appreciated by most educators.
  4. Extravagant gifts are not necessary: I don’t know of any teacher personally that expects gifts from their students, or their student’s parents! But it certainly is a sweet gesture when a child remembers a teacher’s birthday or thinks of them during a holiday. One of the gifts I received that is still a precious decoration hanging on my wall is nothing more than a couple decorated hearts made out of Plaster of Paris that dangle from a piece of twine. It really is the thought that counts.
  5. Get involved: Check to see when the next Parent-Teacher’s meeting is and vow to attend. Staying involved in your child’s education is not only appreciated by educators, but it can be beneficial for both you and your child as well!

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    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 4 years ago from New Jersey

      Thank you for writing such a great tribute to teachers, and explaining all the valuable things they do for those they teach. My son is a kindergarten teacher, and dismayed that many think it's just a job from 9AM to 3PM, where you get summers off. Nobody considers all the time making lesson plans, grading papers, trying to teach when there are so many standardized tests, how to keep learning fresh and interesting. And then there are the parents who don't care. Just this week alone he had to get breakfast from the nurse for several students whose parents had none to feed them, or didn't bother. He also had to intimidate a few lunch ladies who tried to embarrass a few kindergarten and first grade children because they are on lunch programs for the needy, and their parents didn't pay. They tried to deny the children lunch. Can you imagine a low level employee like that taking out the little power they have on a hungry child? He was livid when he came home. Then there are all the science fairs and art fairs, all the projects that just don't fall out of the sky. Many teachers have to buy construction paper, pencils and crayons for their own classes. And to start at a salary of around $45,000 a year in my state of NJ. Teachers don't receive all the appreciation they deserve, so happy Teacher's Appreciation Day!

    • DrRebeccaSanders profile image
      Author

      Dr. Rebecca Sanders 4 years ago from Indiana

      You're more than welcome, Jean! Thank your son for being such a caring teacher from me!! $45,000/year as a starting salary is great compared to many other states - including mine! But you are absolutely right - teachers deserve our appreciation. Feelings of isolation, the constant negativity displayed towards teachers, standardization for those who believe in individualization, and many other factors make this a high burnout field. My goal is to provide ways to decrease that burnout - and create even better teachers for our precious children!

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