I find myself with mixed emotions. I am excited at the thought of warm weather and all the fun summer activities, but I am also a little sad because I’ve become attached to my kids’ teachers and I know our time with them is drawing to a close. I am accustomed to interacting with them twice a day, and the thought of not seeing them anymore is a real bummer.
If you’ve ever been around a group of small children, then you are well-aware that keeping them alive and corralling them are not small feats. Teachers willingly sign up to do this ALL DAY LONG and are paid peanuts to do it. They are actual saints in my book. For real, they are superheroes and all deserve gold medals.
These blessed women and men take my children off my hands for a few hours a day so that I can regain some sliver of sanity. And to boot, they teach them things. Real things! Useful things like math, how to open their own applesauce, why it’s not nice to whack someone over the head because he took your block. And they have a smile on their face while doing it.
They do so much and are so underpaid and undervalued. Exhibit A: My son’s preschool teacher potty-trained him for me. Seriously, potty-trained him! That is worth its weight in gold.
Especially in elementary, the kids spend most of the day with their teachers, and I can tell my kids’ teachers genuinely love what they do and love the kiddos they teach. Their affection for their students shines through in the way they treat the kids. It is heartwarming to see that my kids have all three become genuinely attached to their teachers. They talk about them as though they are close friends of theirs.
The work that teachers do extends far beyond simply teaching academics. They are showing love to the kids and, most important, building their self-esteem. My middle son is young for his grade and struggles with reading. His teacher is incredibly encouraging and ever patient with him as he wrestles with some of the more challenging words. Her persistence and diligence with him are making a world of difference in his reading confidence. My oldest son is very introverted and sometimes battles crippling shyness. His teacher has been instrumental in coaxing him out of his shell and emboldening him to join the conversation and to voice his opinions.
I have a special place in my heart for teachers. I come from a mom who taught special education and a mother-in-law who taught chemistry to high school students at a disadvantaged school. I’ve heard countless stories from former students of the lives they have changed from their chosen professions. More than anything, the stories are significant to them and made the hard work of being a teacher worthwhile.
At the end of the day, we all just want to feel like what we’re doing matters, and teachers don’t hear it enough. I encourage you to really evaluate your appreciation for your child’s teachers and appropriately express your gratitude. This can come in many forms. You might go to the school principal and articulate your positive experience with that teacher. Or you could buy flowers or a gift card or, perhaps, write a heartfelt note. Whatever it is, I am sure that teacher will be grateful for your acknowledgement. Also, please don’t forget the teacher’s aides. They are often overlooked and do so much for the students as well.
My son’s teachers have almost become a part of our family, and I’m going to miss them dearly. As we bid farewell to the school year, let’s celebrate our awesome teachers and give them the recognition they deserve.