(Thank you Brett Sayles for use of image)
In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “appreciation” is defined as “a feeling of being grateful for something. An ability to understand the worth, quality, or importance of something
And a great way to deepen such gratitude is through the power of contrast.
Two years ago teachers were already regarded as superheroes by most, but during the pandemic parents got to experience first hand what it is like to teach (or assistant-teach) their kids. Kids all over the world got to experience what it was like to have a non-teacher try and get them through their school day. With that, we get a glimpse at what life would be like without teachers: for many that would mean mayhem, learning loss, bitter familial relationships, and a disinterest in even the concept of learning!
The impact of a great teacher is so deeply important. It goes so far beyond academic rigor – it affects the very fabric of our being. Indeed, every great innovator, every great leader, every great parent, has been influenced by a great teacher.
Why are teachers so impactful?
Perhaps in part because it is the first time kids get to step outside of their parents expectations, to develop their sense of self.
Human brains are programmed to recognize patterns of behavior, so that we can better predict what is going to happen in the future. This is wonderful for survival, but can also be very limiting when parents build expectations of what their children will do, say and be. Many parents are surprised when they hear of their child behaving differently at school than at home. But it could be because their child is now subject to a completely different set of expectations!
Being a teacher is not always easy or rewarding.
Even pre-pandemic, research has shown teachers as one of the most stressed occupations. According to a study by the University of Missouri (MU) that was first published in October 2017, Keith Herman and Wendy Reinke (both professors in the MU College of Education) and doctoral student Jal’et Hickmon-Rosa, found that 93 percent of elementary school teachers report that they are experiencing a high stress level.
Now, almost four years later, the effects of the pandemic, the growing social unrest, and the seemingly endless uncertainty experienced since March 2020 can only have heightened this stress.
To shift from classroom to cloud requires a whole new skill set. Professional development largely focused on what technology could enable. And then we went to a hybrid learning model, which requires a whole new skill set again. This shifting of goal posts has left even the most highly qualified, highly capable and experienced teachers feeling like they are just starting out.
According to the EdWeek Research Center – 86% of teachers say that teacher morale is lower now than pre-pandemic. And they also earn almost 20% less than comparable college graduates.
It is not just the mental health and wellbeing of our children that we need to foster, our teachers need the same support!
According to the Gallup Report on The State of the American Workplace, the main reasons why anyone would leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated. So don’t let this week go by without making sure our teachers feel appreciated!
Here are 5 suggestions for no-cost-things-to-do, to thank your teacher:
- Thank them for the energy they bring into the classrooms every day and share what, specifically, you enjoy the most!
- Make a drawing, a card, or make a craft for them!
- Make them laugh with a joke, a jib-jab card or funny video.
- Volunteer to help in the classroom.
- Write your own song or rap – there are countless amazing resources for this, including on WURRLYedu! Music is emotive, it makes you feel something. And in the words of American Author & Poet Carl Beuchner “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
These are equally impactful for current teachers as well as a “blast from the past” message to a former teacher you enjoyed. And while Teachers Appreciation Week is a great motivator to thwart you into action, you are not confined to this timeline. Teachers are like the rest of us, and we all enjoy such appreciation any day of the year!
If you know of a teacher that deserves special recognition, please Contact Us and we will spread the love!