May 2-6 is Teacher Appreciation Week. As a result, I take a few moments to reflect on what teachers do for society. When I was growing up I was lucky to have good teachers and role models and in fact some of my teachers were influential in my decision to pursue education for my career. I had teachers that were inspiring and cared deeply for students. Now with that being said, did I always like or appreciate what teachers demanded of me? Of course not. Thankfully, I had parents who expected me to do what teachers asked and if I didn’t like it, they would “side” with the teachers. (Yes, admittedly I might not have been the “perfect” student!) I was raised in a family where you were expected to put your nose to the grindstone, work hard, and don’t complain. If I didn’t like something, I was expected to deal with it (or ‘suck it up’ in today’s terms). Little did I know, that kind of background and my experiences with “tough” teachers or teachers that I didn’t particularly care for would ultimately benefit me later in life.
Because teaching is a series of human interactions, the teaching and learning process is not simple or easy. There are challenges, disagreements, and lessons that need to be learned by our youth. There are times when students “fight” learning and/or resist what teachers try to get out of them. Thankfully, the moments of learning and positive interactions outweigh the struggles. I know that the teachers I have worked with in the past and currently work with now make incredible sacrifices because they are doing what they feel called to do; work with our youth to develop good citizens. And for that, I have deep gratitude for them.
Appreciation is a beautiful thing. Take a moment this week to thank a teacher. Maybe it is a teacher you had when you were growing up. It might even be the teacher that was “tough” on you. Or maybe it’s the teachers that showed incredible care and concern for you. Perhaps it is a teacher that has influenced or gone the extra mile for your son or daughter. It might be the teacher that continues to believe in and care for the person who doesn’t believe in his/herself. It could possibly be the teacher that was an inspiration to you or your son or daughter. Just remember that appreciation doesn’t cost a dime. It can be a simple spoken “thank you,” a quick note or email, or a sincere voicemail message. We are fortunate at Newaygo Public Schools to have a dedicated group of talented teachers. Take a moment to tell them they are appreciated!