I walk into your classroom and the first thing I notice is how inviting your room is. There is a small pencil box on each desk that is filled with sharpened pencils and a few crayons. A poster hangs on a wall with each of the student’s name and birthdays. Under that poster is a large mat with different colored spots where each child will sit while you read them books. There is a wall lined with small hooks where each student will hang his or her coat and backpack. And this room is filled with all kinds of fun things – books, puzzles, toy cars, magnifying glasses, blocks, magnetic letters, and the list goes on and on.
And then I look over and see you. There you are, smiling and cheerfully greeting each student and parent as they walk in. You listen carefully to each student as they ask all sorts of silly and serious questions. You listen carefully as parents voice concerns to you. You are always gentle, patient, and thoughtful in how you answer.
I will leave.
For the next several hours you will be responsible for one of the most important people in my life. This is no small thing. And it’s not just my child, you have nearly 20 of them!
What a fabulous job you do!
I see the papers my child brings home. I notice how much his handwriting has improved. I am astonished by how much and how well he is able to read. I’m amazed by all the numbers he’s computing. He sings for me the songs you sing with them in class. He tells me about the science experiments you do every week. I eagerly listen as he explains to me why and how a plant makes chlorophyll. He now wants to go to Washington DC because you taught him about the Library of Congress.
You taught him all this.
But that’s not all…
I know there is much, much more that you do.
You wipe snotty noses, tie shoes, zip zippers, apply bandages and clip fingernails. You settle arguments and break up fights. You discipline when needed and then gently wipe away tears. Just yesterday I saw you cleaning a boy’s glasses for him. And I know you added some money to one of your student’s lunch account.
Was any of that even in your job description?
You see, I have a unique look at your job. I’m a substitute teacher. I walk in when you’re ill, have a doctor’s appointment, or just want to have a day off to spend with your family. Because you are such an awesome teacher, you make my job easy. The children know when it’s time to settle down and listen, but they also know when it’s ok to talk and be silly. It is evident how much time you spend with that one child who struggles so much and how you utilize the child who always “gets it”. I can always find exactly what I need in your room because it is organized so well.
But at the end of the day, I close the door and leave. You still have papers to grade and lessons to plan.
Last week, when I got some tissues out of your closet, I noticed several boxes of Little Debbie snack cakes and Capri Suns. I know what those are for. Those are the birthday treats you provide for the class if a student wasn’t able bring treats on his or her birthday.
You paid for those yourself, didn’t you?
I wonder how much money you spend on our children.
You have provided a great deal to our children. And education? Yes, of course. But so much more than that. You have also provided safety, security, kindness, problem solving skills, fun, and topped it all off with love.
As a parent, I cannot even begin to tell you how much I appreciate this. And I know you do it because you love the kids.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for being an awesome teacher. Thank you for not doing just what is required, but doing so much more. Thank you for loving on our children. Thank you for investing in their lives.
Happy Teacher’s Appreciation Week!