Teacher Appreciation Week – Just Say Thanks

As most of you should be aware, this week has been Teacher Appreciation Week. While I appreciate the nice little gifts that our administration gets us (we got new laptop sleeves this year) and the determination of PTSO and administration to make us all fat (doughnuts, bagels, and Honey Buns, oh my), these are not the best things that you can do to show appreciation to a teacher.

Yesterday, I sent an email out to the parents of my students involved in the TEDxWOHS project. I included the link to the Students Who Rock post from yesterday, and the link to all of the student blogs. The email took me just over a minute to write.

Within a half hour, I had four parent responses. They include general “Thanks for the reminder,” praise for my hard work and thanks for getting their child to love my class, and even a “I just read my son’s blog…I was literally blown away by what I just learned about silk!”

None of these parents said anything about teacher appreciation week. None of them said a word about teachers being under appreciated, under paid, or over worked. They didn’t wax poetically about all my brilliance or how I saved their child’s life. They just said thanks.

I don’t know where the word appreciation lost its meaning. It simply means “the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something,” but somewhere along the way, we added that it is recognition through the presentation of gifts. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a nice little gift every now and then (and that PayDay bar on Tuesday hit the spot, plus it had a pun, and puns are awesome), but I can honestly say that those four parent emails yesterday made me feel a thousand times more appreciated than the Italian pot-luck lunch we had after school.

So, what I ask of you as a reader of this blog, is to take a minute and thank a teacher. Thank one of your teachers. I get that most of you are adults, so please don’t think I’m only talking to students. I haven’t really been teaching long enough to experience this, but I can’t imagine a more special teacher appreciation gift than a former student taking the time to send me a message saying “You were a great teacher. Thank you.” And yes, I’m practicing what I preach.