Monday, May 6, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Week: Here's what I appreciate about being a teacher...

My school held our teacher appreciation week a couple weeks ago.  It was very nice to receive notes from students and various flowers from gardens.  This week is national teacher appreciation week.  It's only Monday, and my Facebook wall and email inbox are becoming full of appreciation messages from my non-teacher friends.  It's so nice to know that what I do is appreciated and noticed.  Rarely do teachers make the news, but when we do, it's usually not good.  So, thank you to everyone who has sent kind notes.  I appreciate you, and I truly appreciate everything my work as a teacher has given me.

Homemade teacher appreciation gift from a student.
I love the thought and creativity! 

In no particular order, here just a few things I appreciate about being a teacher:

  • I get to become a part of 20+ families each year.  
  • For some of those families, I've taught two, even three, of their children.  It's amazing to watch a family of children grow, and play a big role in their lives over many years.
  • I get spontaneous hugs throughout the day.  Does your job give you that?
  • Patience.  I am not a patient person by any stretch of the imagination.  Being a teacher for 11 years has taught me to clear my mind, take deep breaths, and find patience deep down in the depths of my being.  Running and managing a classroom of 20+ different personalities gives one no other choice.
  • I know I'm making a difference in someone's life everyday... even on my bad days.
  • July.  This is the golden month: no summer school, no regular school.  It's bliss.  Sorry folks, that 3-month summer break is a myth.
  • Flip flop Fridays!  I just instituted this in my classroom last week.
  • Kids' smiles.  There's nothing like having a chid genuinely smile because of something he or she accomplished, figured out, or discovered.
  • I've grown immune to most germs in most places.  Vomit, wet pants, blood, broken bones, dirty hands, snot, and disgusting things in general do not have any impact on me.   I see this as a gift.
  • Most people feel an automatic connection with me simply because everyone has been to school.  Everyone has been to the dentist, so I wonder why people don't feel a connection there.
  • I laugh all day long at work.  More often than not, I have to hide this laugh.
  • Past students paying me a surprise visit is such a gift!  This has to be one of my favorite things about being a teacher.  It's so cool to hear about their lives past elementary school.  It's even more cool to have them come back many years later and tell me that they fondly remember 3rd or 2nd grade in my classroom!  This is something I immensely appreciate.
  • Random teacher discounts.  I make it a rule to always ask, "Do you give a teacher discount?"  I don't always get a discount, but I do always get the kind head tilt and smile.
  • I know and trust that we all have a bright future.  "Kids these days" are doing some amazing things! 
  • Seeing a child finally understand a concept or accomplish a task after a great deal of hard work and determination is unlike anything else.  
  • My colleagues.  I've worked with many incredible teachers, and am a better educator and person because of it.  Thank you to Jennifer Aza Allan, Jim Meininger, Katie Kinnaman, and Michelle Haughney for being incredible co-teachers throughout these past 11 years.  I've learned a great deal from you!
Compared to my same-aged peers with the same level of education, I may not make the most money, have the best perks, or get compensated for all the hours I work, but my level of satisfaction, happiness, and fulfillment at work is something I'd never trade.  I appreciate being a teacher more than I can even express through the words in this blog.   Thank you to all of my current and former students, families, and colleagues.  I truly appreciate you and all that you've given me.