Monday, May 7, 2018

Being Appreciated

Today marks the beginning of Teacher Appreciation Week. This is both wonderful and weird.

My day began with one of my students dropping off this envelope at my office, right after I arrived...

Large envelopes are always wonderfully mysterious, aren't they?

Inside? A stack of hand-written cards from my students, members of the future teachers club on our campus. So many words of affirmation and gratitude here! This makes me say--as I do on at least a weekly basis--"I get to do this!" I love to teach future teachers, and I'm so thankful the opportunity I have in helping to shape how they will approach their professional work.

As one soon-to-be-graduate said in her card to me:
Thank you for choosing to be a lifelong teacher and learner and for choosing to share that with us! You have made a difference not only to the graduates, but to thousands of our future students!
I try not to take that responsibility lightly...all teachers have a massive impact on their students for good or ill...and for those of us who teach teachers...  Well, it's a little overwhelming to think about how our words and actions might ripple.

But her comment has prompted another thought for me, at the beginning of this Teacher Appreciation Week...

Think about those teachers you've had, or who are now teaching your own kids (assuming you have them.) Think about the impact and influence teachers have their students. Teachers spend an incredible amount of time with young people. And, I would argue, in today's North American culture, teachers are a powerfully shaping force on how young people grow up. I think this has been the case for many years, of course. But I wonder if today teachers have even more influence in the lives of kids than they perhaps have had in the past?

I guess my reflection of the day is that, while it certainly is wonderful for teachers to have a week where students, parents, and community members celebrate teachers because of the role teachers play in society...maybe it should be more than just a week of the year? I'm pointing the finger at myself here...I know I could do a better job of expressing my appreciation to teachers in my life. What if we all made more of a commitment to doing this on an ongoing basis, rather than just one week each spring?

Don't get me wrong though...this stack of cards received from my students this morning is going to be added to the collection of things I've received from students, parents, and colleagues over the past 20 years I've been doing this teaching thing. It feels pretty great to be appreciated!

No comments:

Post a Comment