As Staff Appreciation Week comes to a close and with National Teacher’s Day next Tuesday, I wanted to express my admiration and appreciation for what is on one hand such a challenging job, and on the other such a fulfilling one. In every classroom I visited this year, from Pre-K through high school, I saw deep caring and compassion for each student, abundant energy and enthusiasm, and remarkable talent in providing opportunities for individual attention, small group work, and whole class instruction. Likewise, our support staff – bus drivers, instructional assistants, office assistants, custodians, and more - are clearly loved and respected by our students because of how much they care for the kids. Every single day, I fervently wish I could enroll our four grandchildren in our extraordinary schools so they could benefit from your expertise and love for your kids and this wonderful profession.
I hope that this week you have felt some serious love from the students and families you serve. Knowing that we can all use a few more kind words at this time of year – I term it “May Madness” for good reason – I wanted to share some words that the most important people in education have to say about their teachers. Those people are our students, and the dozen quoted below are a sampling of 667 expressions of appreciation I received from just one school. While they were written for individuals, I honestly think they are applicable to all:
1. Without you, I would never have been able to write a proper essay, but you did so much more than teach English. You taught me to be a better person.
2. You make a difference every single day in ways you may not know.
3. Everything about you is reassuring, supportive and encouraging.
4. I appreciate your willingness to understand, your jokes in class, and your passion.
5. You genuinely care about your students and enjoy helping us learn and improve. You are reliable and give great life lessons.
6. Your class is my favorite class. Thanks for putting up with me even though I’m really annoying. I have mad respect for you for dedicating your life to improving kids’ lives through art; you’re just really cool in general. I really appreciate your positive attitude and the fact that you see the best in everybody, including me. When you criticize and compliment my work, it makes me immensely happy because you care about what I make and care about helping me be better. Thank you, you are the best.
7. You have single handedly turned my perception of math from something of pure agony and hatred, to a subject that pushes me to my limits while fascinating me.
8. You are super chill and understanding.
9. You have such creative ways of teaching and you have high expectations but are still pretty forgiving.
10. You take time for every student and make them feel valued.
11. You make your class all about learning and not about the grades.
12. Your unconditional kindness, compassion, and understanding.
Thank you again for all your hard work and extraordinary care. It matters in so many lasting ways.