Sunday, May 6, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week

Monday begins Teacher Appreciation Week and this weekend I gave some thought as to what that means. Our local PTO organizes a wonderful week – flowers, food, small gestures – just to let us know they appreciate what we do. One of my students asked me what I “wanted” this week. I told her that thanks was enough, and it truly is. I think if you asked most people in our country if they appreciate the educators in their community, they would say they do.

When I think of the teachers I appreciate, there is a long list. Jan Tuck, my first grade teacher, is one I always think of first and am so grateful for. I’ve searched and searched for her on the Internet so I could relay my gratitude, but to no avail. If you happen to know Jan, who moved to Virginia in the early 80’s, let me know!

I appreciated Mr. John Beccue in seventh grade who called me out when I was being lazy. Ms. Deb Flock and Mrs. Hazel Lindsay who made books come alive. Mr. Engle who made history interesting to me. Ms. Barb Dress who made me understand the workshop model and taught me to revere Lucy Calkins.

But, when I think of teachers I also think of my parents, my first teachers, who made me who I am. So, when thinking of whom I need to thank on teacher appreciation week, I also think of my students’ parents.

I appreciate when parents back me up. It’s hard when your children get “in trouble” at school. I know they might come home with various stories. I appreciate it when parents call me to ask what happen but have backed up my actions to their students.

I think most parents are working incredibly hard. I appreciate when parents take the time to model behavior they want to see in their children. Whether it is through reading before bed, keeping their cool when there is a controversial call in a sporting event, modeling how to be a gracious winner or a good loser in baseball, showing their children that school is important by giving it a priority over extra curriculars, and showing their children the way we treat people matters. All of these little lessons every day make my job in the classroom so much easier.

I am so grateful that I live in the community I do. On a regular basis I receive notes, emails, phone calls, texts, and Facebook messages thanking me for something I’ve done in relation to teaching. Somehow they often manage to come on one of “those days” where I feel that I’m banging my head against the wall. I try and do this for my children’s teachers too. To send emails randomly. Donate books to the classroom just for the heck of it. Send gifts in at Christmas and the end of the year just to say thanks.

So, as we begin teacher appreciation week I want to thank the parents in Monticello School District. We appreciate you. Thanks for making the job of educating your children a pleasure. Thanks for all of your hard work at home. And, on the reverse side, thanks to Sarah Plecki, Melinda McHale, and Sally Bower, and all of the teachers at White Heath and Lincoln schools for teaching my children this year. We have been blessed.

Katherine Sokolowski