The Appreciation Never Ends
This week is designated Teacher Appreciation Week! The one constant for every individual is that we have all had a teacher in some way, shape or form. I want to share a personal story about a teacher that made a difference in my life.
I was in 4th grade and I really didn't care to read. School was okay, but I rarely got excited to learn, I was more into the fun stuff, hanging out with friends, going to recess and socializing at lunch. Frankly, school took a back seat to MY interests. Then things changed, several weeks into 4th grade I was sputtering. Mrs. White pulled me up to her desk and talked with me. We talked about sports, school and my interests. Mrs. White knew more about me than I thought, she did care. She then told me that I was a good reader. Internally I didn't believe her. I knew that when I read my eyes hurt, sometimes the words got blurry and I couldn't always remember what I had read. I thought Mrs. White was just being nice.
Then she surprised me. Mrs. White took out a book, The Phantom Tollbooth. I sat at her desk and she read to me. I loved listening to Mrs. White's voice. We finished chapter one and she gave me the book. Mrs. White then said, "Okay Ben, now you take this home and read chapter 2. We'll sit down tomorrow and you can tell me what happened." First of all, this assignment had no grade, but I was very motivated to not let Mrs. White down, she believed in me and I now knew that she cared. I had to read chapter 2 and report to her.
That night I read chapter 2, I won't say it was easy, but I got through it. My eyes hurt, they were watery and I wasn't sure if I remembered everything. I went in the next day and immediately approached Mrs. White, the smile on her face was so inviting.
Each day Mrs. White and I met and discussed the previous chapter, it was my favorite part of the day! I was beginning to love reading. I'll also admit that my eyes didn't water as much and the words didn't get blurry. I didn't know it then, but I know now that I was improving.
Mrs. White turned me on to reading. She didn't use a textbook or a magic trick. Mrs. White showed me that I mattered, she invested in me and she followed through with what she said. I'm fortunate enough to still know Mrs. White and I still appreciate her as much as I did in 4th grade!
An unsuspecting impact
For nearly ten years of teaching fifth grade I felt as though I formed strong connections with students. My 7th year teaching I had what I deemed a great group. That year I had a young lady named Jenna in my room. Jenna was smart and sweet.
As a teacher I valued one-on-one communication with my students. I wanted to be able to relate, understand and individualize to the best of my ability. That year, Jenna and I had several conversations each week.
The year was going well and we had just hit Winter Break. It was December 18th and we would be off for a couple weeks. I was looking forward to some down time and a chance to hang out with family. It was late, I'll never forget the moment. The clock read 11:04 pm, I had just heard that Jenna lost her father, he was involved in a car accident. My heart ached for Jenna and her family. Moments later Jenna contacted me. I was stunned. She told me what had happened and she was very upset. Jenna and I spoke for about ten minutes and then I spoke with her mom. Jenna's mom informed me that Jenna really wanted to speak with me. I was shocked. Her mom then told me that she trusted me. This was an extremely sad moment, but I also knew this was a time I had to step forward and be there for one of my students. The fact that Jenna reached out to me in a moment of need made me proud to be her teacher. It isn't always about the grades and projects. Relationships matter!
At a time when many educators think they are more likely to be criticized than commended, the praise from reunioners and newsletter contributors offers an example for current students and parents. How many teachers might be encouraged to stay in the classroom longer, instead of seeking other careers, if they received a few more words of appreciation and admiration for a job well done?
A long-ago bumper sticker offers a gentle reminder, still timely: "Have you thanked a teacher today?"
by Marilyn Gardner
NEXT WEEK AT A GLANCE:
Wednesday, May 8th: Walk-to-School Day dropoff at the Spring Arbor Fire Dept.
Thursday, May 9th: Kids Hope Dinner at SAFM
Tuesday, May 14th: Panther Pride Luncheon
Tuesday, May 14th: Final String Team Practice of the school year
Wednesday, May 15th: String Team Recital at the JSO
Wednesday, May 22nd: 4th Grade to Enterprise City
Tuesday, May 28th: Spring Musical @ CAC
Articles Worth Reading:
18 Myths People Believe About Education
12 Ways To Thank Teachers
Is This Good Enough?
The Case Against Grades
Videos Worth Watching:
Every Kid Needs a Champion (8 min)
J-Mac, inspiring story! (5 min)
The future is in Glass! Amazing video! (6 min)