Wouldn’t it be awesome if schools all over the county appreciated our teachers more than once a year? No matter what school children attended, what if all had access to a tool that would give parents the same opportunities when it comes to showing their gratitude? The buzz words in education for the year are ‘Common Core’ – dirty words for some; heaven’s answer for others. But no matter what side of the fence you’re on, everyone can agree on one thing: uniformity in the standards across the nation is needed. Could we call for consistency in our Teacher Appreciation efforts as well? So, before you purchase that quick, generic drug-store gift for a special teacher or dismiss teacher appreciation altogether, please remember that he or she deserves so much more. In fact, here are five reasons why the way we appreciate our teachers needs an extreme makeover: 1. Teachers are real people, too. Do you remember being a child and thinking that your teacher lived at school? Or thinking that he or she never used the bathroom, or visited fun places, like the movies? People would not believe it, but there are adults who place teachers in the same kind of limited box. They do not expect teachers to have lives or to have wants and desires. The teacher is expected to be grading papers and creating masterful lesson plans 24 hours a day, instead of meeting with friends at a concert or relaxing at the beach. 2. Teachers are creative. There is one thing I will always hold to be true – teachers are the most creative and ingenious creatures on this planet. If you ever need to find the solution to a challenge or a new way to complete a task, ask a teacher. For years, teachers have created activities and projects, and now they are coming up with new ways to share with other teachers. They have designed a path online to motivate and encourage other educators. Isn’t it time we took a page from their book and used innovative and fresh ways to motivate them? 3. Teachers are overworked. “Must be nice to have summers off” is what most non-educators would say. Sure, teachers are not physically teaching children during the summer months, but I can promise you that they’re working. Workshops, curriculum mapping, tutoring programs – this is what a teacher’s summer looks like. Plus, stagnant pay requires many teachers to work a part-time summer job to keep up with the economy. 4. Teachers are retiring. In many districts, awards are given to retiring teachers who have dedicated 35+ years of service to the profession. However, a trend of teachers retiring at the first chance possible is sweeping the nation; you will be pressed to find a large group of teachers with 35 years of service. If they are not retiring, they are just simply leaving. Teachers resigning due to various circumstances is increasing, while the college graduates majoring in education decreases. They are fleeing! Can we commit to a cause to help keep teachers? 5. Teachers are online. Websites, posted lessons, blogs, shopping, personal social media accounts – teachers are a huge part of the online world. They are the first ones to know about a piece of digital equipment and how to use it. So why is Teacher’s Appreciation Day at most schools centered around a paper questionnaire and not web based? Remember, it is not a teacher’s nature to ask for what they desire. You will not find a teacher screaming “Appreciate me!” to parents. So it is our responsibility to advocate and embrace them with nothing less than what they deserve.
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