This editorial was published in the Bloomington Pantagraph.
A teacher's job has always involved at least double duty. They're coaches, mentors and advocates.
This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. We may not have a lot of prepared good wishes for those in the profession, but this is as good a time as any to start pondering production.
Unless you have a teacher in your family or close friends in the profession, you probably don't hear about the work that often needs to be done. But good teachers provide much more than a good education for our children.
Those selfless acts happen regularly, yet the profession is often maligned. When teachers strike, protest for higher wages, or even have the temerity to complain about their situation, naysayers come out of the woodwork.
It's almost impossible to find an individual whose life wasn't influenced dramatically at some time by a teacher. That teacher who recognized a hidden talent and steered that individual toward a field of study or a profession. Or, perhaps you were struggling with a subject in school and that teacher took the extra time to help you understand.
Even better, maybe you had a teacher that shaped your outlook on life, helped you set priorities to become a better person, a productive member of society.
We realize their importance in our society. We understand they are frequently underpaid. We know that the most brilliant scientists, the best doctors and lawyers all learned their crafts from others — teachers.
With many students learning remotely at times in the past year, perhaps there is a greater appreciation of all that teachers do. Let’s also take time to appreciate the extra effort many teachers put into trying to keep in contact with their students on a personal level, through notes or even drive-by visits, while remote learning was in effect.
Make someone's day. Reach out to a teacher, maybe someone who taught you, maybe someone who teaches your children or grandchildren and thank them.
Teacher Appreciation Week is a time to recognize school staff and administration, too. Reach out to your school’s principal, secretaries, and support staff to let them know how much you care.
Here are just a handful of suggestions:
- Have your child write and mail a letter to their teacher. This can be even more special if the teacher taught your child how to write this year.
- Send your teacher a gift card for food or classroom supplies.
- Use the social media hashtag #ThankATeacher from the National PTA and share how educators have brightened your or your child’s life.
- Make and send a simple classroom decoration for your child’s teacher to hang up next year.
- Record a video of your child saying thank you to their teacher and email it to them.
- Have your child write a poem for their teacher on what they’ve learned this year and why they’re thankful to be in their teacher’s class.
- Take a picture of your child learning from home and send it to their teacher.
- Ask your child what their favorite thing they learned this year is and have them write or email it to their teacher.