Archive for May, 2016

Teacher Appreciation

May 2, 2016

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week once again, and while we’re not pandering for pity about the number of hours we teachers work, the hoops we jump through to help students pass, the constant struggle to maintain parental communication, and how standardized testing and legislative restrictions have severely hindered our autonomy in the classroom, I am expressing why we teachers do what we do in spite of it all.  The list of grievances is interminable, but I also think the list of what makes our jobs so ultimately fulfilling should be, too.  I’ve listed just a few below.

The Simple Hellos

Students are a very egocentric bunch, especially high school students.  They are wrapped up in their social media, their extracurriculars, family drama at home, other classes in school, and just life in general.  The fact that they take the time to say hello in the hallway or even stop by speaks volumes.  Many students can and do look the other way when a teacher approaches them, but a simple hello is a refreshing reminder that we matter to them.

The Visits

This goes along the lines of saying hello except the visits last a little longer.  Visits are different from tutorials in that they are not required.  Former students, current students, future students, adopted students all come into your classroom because they want to.  Them taking the time out of their day to stop by for a few moments, even when it’s annoyingly in the middle of a lesson, can potentially brighten any teacher’s day.

The Notes

In the midst of our worst days, a simple positive handwritten note on our boards or left on our desks is like getting a pay raise.  Sometimes we teachers need that encouragement, and to get that validation from our students is invaluable.

The Trust

Let’s face it.  Tutorials are no fun.  They are for those students who need extra time and assistance.  They are for makeup work.  They are not for leisure.  Some of our favorite candid moments with students have occurred during tutorials when they have a chance to let their hair down and be themselves.  And then they unload.  Some of them unload a ton.  And we teachers listen.  We show our human sides to them, and the students respond in kind.  And then we teachers go home.  We lose sleep because we care, but a student’s trust is never to be taken for granted.  And we know that.

The Return Visits

In every teacher’s life, students matriculate.  They graduate on to the next school or into the real world.  We miss them, but we are so very happy to see them go.  Then some of them come back.  They come full circle to us and fill us in on their new and more grown-up lives.  They share their struggles and their victories, but they come back to share them with us because we appreciate them, and as a result, they appreciate us.  And nothing in the world matters to us more than that.

Sure, there are numerous other job benefits that make our cups overflow such as seeing the light bulbs of understanding suddenly illuminate over their heads, celebrating their successes and seeing them through to meet their goals.  None of them reflect any monetary value because money cannot be equated to appreciation.  Not in a school setting.  And if you are a teacher who is reading this who does not received personal or professional fulfillment from anything mentioned in this article, then I implore you to consider working in a different profession.