Celebrating The End of Teacher Appreciation Week
I cherish our public school teachers – I truly do, but this whole Teacher Appreciation Week has got me whooped. As a room parent in our elementary school, it’s my job to oversee the coordination of this annual effort in my child’s – make that children’s – classrooms. Three classes, three wonderful teachers, three very different sets of parents.
Oh, did I say, “teacher” appreciation week? I meant “staff” appreciation week. So that includes administrators, the ladies in the front office, yard duty helpers, the principal, the librarians, custodians, teachers’ aides, music and art teachers, P.E. teachers and reading specialists. I mixed and baked so many banana breads to go with those sweet handmade cards my kids made that I actually broke my KitchenAid mixer. Seriously, I can’t get the attachment to come off.
Like my mixer, for some reason, this year’s efforts wore me down. Was it the economy? Collections for teacher gift funds were difficult in so many rooms. Was it the timing? It was scheduled on the school calendar right after spring break so we had to start two weeks in advance to plan and remind (hound) volunteers of the upcoming events. Was it the suggested variety of ways to show our love – from “make a banner” to “gifts from the heart” to “volunteer to serve at the teacher luncheon” to gift cards and simple precious gestures of handfuls of cut flowers released from a tiny tightly clasped fists into a large vases to make communal flower bouquets?
All of these things are beautiful, very visible reminders to them that we realize they aren’t paid what they are worth and that we value them beyond what most of our state politicians do. For those parents who are always at the ready to help on these things – I commend you – we should never take teachers for granted.
For those of you unable to participate in this whirlwind free-for-all that sometimes ends in aggressive begging for money from the families of students who really can’t afford it – I salute you. I salute the many parents who just say “no” to all the expensive hoopla and find other ways to connect, respect and support their child’s teacher because sometimes it just seems to get out of control.
I want to say thanks to those who reach out to their children’s teachers with thoughtful emails and spontaneous discussions. Those who are generous with their time in the classroom, who give of themselves in ways that aren’t on display. Those I see taking the time to connect with children other than their own on field trips; those who don’t walk by a crying child or cut a wide path around a bullying incident. Sometimes their actions aren’t visible enough to be acknowledged in the school newsletter, but are nonetheless contributing to their own children’s education – and mine - by simply being an involved parent. And that unto itself is a gift I can certainly appreciate.
This is an original post by Pamela Weiss to the Silicon Valley Moms Blog.