This is officially Teacher Appreciation Week and we will now be celebrated in big box and office stores, bookstores and of course teacher supply stores and if we are lucky, the parents and administrators at our schools will plan special breakfasts or lunches and children will arrive with flowers and tokens of love. It is one week a year that we are honored and officially appreciated.
In the spirit of gratitude and appreciation, I propose that we begin the new practice of a more frequent appreciation of teachers because I know, first-hand, the amount of thought, time and energy teachers devote to their classrooms, parents of their students and mostly to the students themselves. Teachers are teachers 24/7 and it is one of a handful of jobs that are more than a job, more like a lifestyle. In Spanish, there are two ways of identifying oneself, estoy and soy. The first, estoy refers to how you are, the second, soy, refers to who you are, to one's essence. This is the way teachers refer to themselves: Yo soy una maestra, I am a teacher, all of the time, everyday, all day.
In the summer, when I am on break and not at school for eight hours everyday, I get a glimpse of the other part of me, the writer, beach lover and yoga enthusiast. During the school year, I have to search for the time to indulge in these activities. Even in the summer though, I find myself noticing activities that would be fun for my students, reading blogs and books about the latest educational trends and shopping for materials for my students.
Teacher Appreciation Week is a week teachers look forward to and treasure but more frequent acts of appreciation and gratitude would be a welcome addition. There is a saying that those who can't do, teach, yet really teachers have to be prepared to do many things: teach, educate and advise parents and students, nurture, create, listen, comfort and learn. Teachers do all of this for a salary that makes pleasures like owning a home, traveling, enriching their own children's lives and providing for their own children's college studies, difficult. Teachers bring their work home and their supplies to school. They have a set tax write-off for educational expenses, in California, $250.00. Teachers do not have loopholes and are expected to put the education of their students and the devotion to their schools first. They have district set benefits and a state set retirement benefit, yet teachers feel a calling and respond. Daily doses of gratitude, appreciation and respect, while not a raise in money or stature, would be a nice addition.