In Celebration of Teachers
Most people can recall at least one instance in which a teacher showed caring and kindness toward them at just the right moment in their lives. For me, it was my third grade teacher, Ms. Reese. Third grade was an especially difficult year for me, and Ms. Reese was a major reason I was able to make it through that time. She had a full, curly Afro and big, brown eyes that looked at me, the meandering girl, with tender compassion, and I came to understand goodwill toward others as I watched her watch me. I liked being surprised that I didn’t have to have my guard up with her; I could relax around her, and eventually I went to school to be in her presence as much as I did to learn my third grade lessons. She only taught in our school for one year, and I don’t know where she went from there, but I’d bet she continued to show goodwill to her new students the same way she did for me, and I hope she had a long career doing just that.
While I never had the opportunity to express my appreciation to Ms. Reese, now is as good a time as any to say thank you to all the teachers who, like Ms. Reese, give students a reason to come to school every day. Thank you for the ways that you make school a safe, welcoming place for students of all ages and who come from all places. Thank you for the sacrifices of time, money, and energy that you pour into the students who have no idea the price you pay to teach them and to reach them. We appreciate you for the love you provide your students and their learning, and we are awed by the fact that you find joy in giving that love so freely.
Thank you for taking your weekends to grade papers and attend games and nonschool events. Thank you for greeting your students and their parents in the grocery stores, at the movies, and all the other places in the community. Thank you for visiting students when they are sick, comforting them when they are distressed, celebrating with them when they win, and redirecting them when they are wrong. You are the light!
Thank you for answering countless emails, attending after-school staff meetings, and staying late for parent-teacher conferences even when it means you have to reschedule the conference you have for your own child. Thank you for being committed to your own professional growth and serving on every committee in the school.
You see your students through the eyes of compassion and you make sure they all have a place to go when it storms, they can get home safely from school dances, and they learn to solve difficult problems. You guide the way, open doors, and act as a guardrail to prevent students from going astray. You learn all the new dances, keep up with pop culture, and adapt to a constantly changing world. You show up every day ready to teach. And you do it with grace and style. You are amazing!
Teachers are perennial heroes, champions, and supporters. So much depends upon you and you never let us down. Thank you.
Lora Hodges is the chief executive officer at Center for Responsive Schools