Teacher appreciation started as a day, then a week and has now become ‘teacher appreciation month’, and it’s still not long enough! We should appreciate teachers every day of the year, all year round. Some of us are even lucky enough to have a teacher who taught them life lessons that helped them to become better people. I’d like to share my special teacher story in this article, and I hope you’ll share yours with us too.

How Mrs. Scott Saved Me From Myself

I was eight years old and a bit of a strange kid, but I loved Mrs. Scott from day one. She was kind and smelled of flowers. Still, I didn’t give her an easy time. The previous year had seen me developing a unique, book-free and homework-free school life. All I did was turn up. That was it. Poor Mrs. Scott couldn’t decide if I was naughty or just ridiculously scatter-brained.

First, she remonstrated with me. It didn’t work. Then she took to attaching notes to my school bag reminding me what I ought to bring next day. I threw them away. She talked to my mom but not even that worked. Finally, Mrs. Scott asked me to remain after class for a little talk.

I knew I was wrong, and I dreaded the expected tirade, but it never materialized. Instead, Mrs. Scott did what I loved best. She told me a story. She made it up as she went along, and here’s the simple, interactive story she told.

“A little girl is walking down a road. Suddenly, she sees a big, muddy puddle in the middle of it. She just walks right into it and ends up covered in mud. Every day, she walks the same road, and every day, she does the same thing. Every day, she’s dirty, and she gets into trouble for getting that way. Do you think she is happy?”

I hung my head, knowing this was about me: “No.”

“What should the little girl in my story do?”

“She should walk around the puddle instead.”

“Will it be very hard to do?”

“No.”

That was it. I cleaned up my act from that day onward. I never forgot that meeting with Mrs. Scott who had been gentle yet firm, and who had reasoned with me, even though I knew I deserved to be punished. Life is full of muddy puddles, and being taught to walk around them for the sake of my own happiness was the best thing I ever learned at school.

Teachers are Underappreciated and Undervalued

Let’s get this out in the open right now, admit it, and do what we can to change it. Teachers should be among the most respected people in society, but they don’t get the recognition they deserve. For their educational level and experience, they receive paltry salaries.

We may think their work ends at the end of the school day and envy them their long holidays, but if we do, we are laboring under a serious misconception. Teachers must prepare lessons. They need to mark homework assignments and tests, and this work often gets done late at night because their days are already full.

During holidays, they’re preparing for the new school year, facing performance appraisals based on their students’ results, and more. It isn’t an easy career; you’ll never get rich if you choose it. If you become a teacher at all, it’s because you’re passionate about teaching, period.

Teachers are under constant scrutiny from kids, parents and society in general. In their workday, they must be constantly mindful of the impression they’re creating, and how the things they say and do could affect kids. Iron self-control goes with the territory.

A good teacher is an almost superhuman being. The amazing thing is not how many “bad” teachers there are, but that there are so many wonderful teachers out there. Let’s honor them as they deserve to be honored.

Appreciation and Help for Teachers

As parents, we should help teachers as much as we possibly can, not only because we appreciate them, but because we have empathy for them as human beings with a challenging job. Here are some thoughts:

  • Teach kids to respect teachers. This one is huge. A respectful class makes a teacher’s job so much easier.
  • Do something to brighten a teacher’s day. A bunch of garden flowers, the cliched polished apple on the desk, or even a little note from your child can mean a lot even though the token of appreciation seems so small.
  • Never miss a parent-teacher One of the ways we can show our respect is to be present for parent and teacher meetings when we’re invited to attend them. We’ll get a better understanding of our kids’ school life, and we may find ways to help the teacher by working with our kids on certain issues.
  • Just remembering that teachers are human too. Sometimes, we may not agree with something a teacher did. If we need to discuss it with them, let’s do so like mature adults. Everybody sometimes makes a mistake – but keep an open mind, we’re just as capable of misconstructions and errors. Let the teacher give his or her side of the story.
  • Much as we may like to think so, our kids aren’t perfect. That means being open to observations we might not quite like. We shouldn’t accept them blindly, of course, but nor should we reject them out of hand.
  • Just say thanks. We love it when someone congratulates us on a job well done. Who will acknowledge our children’s teachers? Will we only notice when we don’t like what they did?

Here are some fun ideas for teacher gifts that you and your children can make that will surely let their teachers know that you are thankful for all their hard work.

How Digital Helps Teachers

There are great apps out today that help to enhance subjects being taught by teachers.  Just like technology can come in as a helping hand to parents; for teachers these mediums can be a great teacher’s assistant and even lifesaver at times.

Sometimes, teachers must concentrate on small groups of students or even individual ones. What will the rest of the group do?

As long as the right apps are being used, and screen time is not overly used, apps like The Library of Miss Gadish can keep kids entertained and enthralled whilst helping to emphasize something being taught in the classroom.

There is no reason not to use the digital medium to our, and our children’s full advantage!

THANK YOU

Thank you to all those teachers who think outside of the box, go the extra mile, and spend their days and nights thinking about lesson plans that will help ALL their students to really understand and learn the material.

Thank you for your ability to keep it together, in situations where most of us would crack.

Thank you for trying to be objective, and trying to keep your own personal politics and beliefs out of the classroom.

Thank you for trying not to play favourites, even when it’s very difficult.

Thank you for choosing this very difficult and underappreciated job and coming in every morning with a smile regardless of things happening in your own personal life.

So, thank you!

Thank you for all that you do.

You help shape our future for the better.

Some Fun ‘Teacher Lovin’ Books For Your Kids

As always, we can’t end this topic without recommending a few of our favourites books on the subject.  Here are some wonderful stories to enjoy with your children that remind us all what a powerful and important role a good teacher can be in someone’s life.

Matilda

Matilda

written by Roald Dahl

Is there anyone who hasn’t read this wonderful book?  If so, stop what you’re doing and start now!  It’s a classic, as it should be; and Miss Honey will always be the sweetest teacher who ever lived.  Roald Dahl’s writing and storytelling is surpassed by no one – and children can enjoy this story being read to them from the age of 5-years-old – even though it’s not a picture book.  For independent reading, it’s probably best suited for children around 9-years-old and up (depending on their reading level).

miss nelson

Miss Nelson Is Missing

By Harry Allard & James Marshall

This is a story for children as young as 3-years-old to enjoy.  What happened to Miss Nelson and where did she go?  The beloved teacher is missing, and has been replaced by an evil and mean substitute – it’s too bad the students needed a horrible sub to be brought in, in order to appreciate their lovely teacher.  This is a fun story that all children will enjoy and that will make them think twice about misbehaving in the classroom.

my teacher is monster

My Teacher Is A Monster

By Peter Brown

Have you ever bumped into on of your teacher’s outside of school and felt it to be so strange?  What a wonderful story told from the perspective of a young student in such a fun and real way – even though the teacher depicted is in the form of a monster.  It helps remind us all that teachers are human beings and have lives and feelings – and do not live in the school as students usually believe them to.