- Are you and Linda S. the same person?
- Where are the cute Target earrings??
- Are these your kids' real names now, or still the pseudonyms you use on your Swistle blog?
- You are so pretty! I thought you'd be fatter!
- Is your mother-in-law going to find you online now?
- How did you come up with the name "Swistle"?
- Is it okay if I still call you Swistle?
This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. William's school is having a Teacher Appreciation Breakfast. Some parents are sending muffins, some are sending juice or fruit or bagels or quiche; some are sending plates, napkins, or plastic flatware. It is a huge effort requiring many people's involvement and a ton of organization, emails, and phone calls. And what does it give the teachers? They don't have to make their own toast/cereal. For one morning.
It seems to me there are better and more efficient ways to show appreciation to teachers.
For starters, we could pay them as if their jobs involved SHAPING CHILDREN'S ENTIRE FUTURES.
We could follow up by agreeing to NEVER SAY AGAIN, "Oh, you're a teacher? Must be nice to get out at 3:00 and have your summers off!"
We could vote, when given the opportunity to do so, for more educational funding. It is a good value---unlike some of the other things our taxes are paying for.
We could offer to help out. If we can't go in during the day, or if we'd rather have a thousand never-healing paper cuts than serve on the PTA, we can offer what we CAN do: sending stuff in for bake sales or parties, purchasing an item for the classroom, donating scrap paper from the office, arranging a class field trip tour of our super-amazing workplace chocolate factory, whatevs.
We could acknowledge that most parents consider their own children to be above average, and that statistically-speaking we can't all be right.
We could occasionally send in something when it's NOT Teacher Appreciation Week. A little baggie of wrapped dark chocolates, maybe. A small bag of gourmet popcorn. Or, sure, an apple.
We could send our kids to school with a good night's sleep and a good breakfast---at least to the best of our ability (some of the little buggers fight us every step of the way).
We could write an occasional note telling teachers how much we appreciate the work they do. Mention a specific thing you noticed, or mention something general. Mention something flattering your kid said about the teacher. Mention how much you liked this month's newsletter. It can feel awkward to write a note to someone you've met only twice all year, but that's okay: the teacher is not expecting Shakespeare from you, nor is the teacher going to grade your penmanship.
I am grateful for teachers every time I put my older two kids on the bus and wave good-bye with an insultingly-large grin on my face. I am grateful for teachers whenever I babysit someone else's kids for a few hours (and all I'm doing is keeping those kids ALIVE, not trying to TEACH them anything). I am grateful for teachers during every school vacation. I am grateful for teachers every time my kids come home with some new information and I think, "Oh yeah! I forgot to tell them about that!"
I don't think we can say enough nice things about people who, year after year, take a fresh group of TWO DOZEN children belonging to OTHER PEOPLE, children who will NOT EVEN BE CARING FOR THEM IN THEIR OLD AGE, and try to improve the quality of their lives. Thanks, teachers! Super-big MWAH.