I will start this by saying I am not a teacher (as in career) nor do I work in a school. I am a parent. So I can’t speak first hand on how it feels to be in the classroom with the responsibilities or pressures that one experiences. BUT, I do recognize that they are there and just as with any job, it is nice to hear some positive feedback for your efforts on occasion. Constructive criticism is important for us to improve as individuals…but I believe praise and recognition help keep us going through those rough days. Days when you think you can no longer do anymore.
First, as we approach Teacher Appreciation Week, I think it is important that we realize that every person in our schools needs to be included. Everyone from the secretaries to custodians to cafeteria staff to aides impact our children and play an integral part in their education. The classroom teacher accepts the primary responsibility – but the others in the building support those efforts and have the ability to teach and model so many other skills.
Showing our appreciation for what educators do one week out of the year is nice, but will that carry them through the next 51 weeks? Will it help them get past the rough week 4 weeks prior? Personally, I’m not a fan of ever showing appreciation for someone 1 day (or week) out of the year. We should be recognizing the efforts made by educators on a daily basis and use teacher appreciation week as a time that we simply step it up a notch.
Ways that we have tried to recognize our school staff throughout the year:
- featuring them in our school newsletter,
- bringing them in with their students to our monthly PTO meeting to share what they have been exposing/teaching our children about,
- tweeting out (and posting to our Facebook) thank you’s and efforts made as we witness or hear about them (I wish we were around to say daily),
- sending them an email or handwritten note thanking them (just because)…or better yet, our children to writing or drawing something for them.
This year, our students have written messages about the teachers (how they've impacted or influenced them, something they loved about them or what they admire them for). We then compiled those with candid pictures and created a photo book to leave in the staff lounge; a constant reminder that they are appreciated ALL year long. (Here’s hoping none of them read this before then.)
This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we’ve preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own.