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For Teachers: A Note of Appreciation

For Teachers: A Note of Appreciation

In preschool, it was Miss Patti. In elementary school, it was Elizabeth Patrick, Kathy Samuels, and Marlene Fisher. My secondary schooling provided fewer educators that positively impacted me, but Burnham Whittington, my Advanced English teacher from junior year comes to mind.

Miss Patti - I don’t remember much about her - if that was her first name or her last, or what she looked like, but I know she made me feel safe, welcomed, and loved.  Ms. Patrick made me feel accepted in a new school and made me excited to learn. Mrs. Samuels had a calm and easy demeanor and her classroom made us overflow with creativity. Mrs. Fisher made me feel like it was okay to be my unique self and her zest for everything art made her classroom the best place in the school to be. A year later after moving on to sixth grade and learning the cold distinction between middle and elementary school and also amid a family tragedy, I found myself yearning to be back in the safety and warmth that her classroom provided. Several years later, Mr. Whittington, or Mr. Whitt, as we called him, helped me learn to love literature and his introduction to Edith Wharton helped me easily cruise through an “A” paper on Wharton’s allusions to Greek Mythology in college with another amazing teacher, Koos Daley.

If you’re wondering why I’m waxing nostalgia over my formative years, it’s Teacher Appreciation Week and today is Teacher Appreciation Day. I think about the teachers who impacted my life on a regular basis and daily I am even more appreciative of the educators who’ve made a difference in the lives of my three boys.

Have you ever really stopped to ponder the tremendous power that educators wield, the influence they have over the formation of our society? Schools and classrooms are microcosms of our larger communities. They are where children learn how to build the communities that they will create in adulthood. Our kids spend more time at school than they do at home with us (this thought really hit me hard many years ago when I sent my boys off to school in kindergarten). Schools may actually have more influence over what our children become than we as parents and caregivers do.

Several years ago at one of my first PEAK Conferences on Inclusive Education, I listened to Jonathan Mooney explain that it only takes one caring adult to change the trajectory of a child’s life. One caring adult or teacher can mean the difference between suicide and life, engaging in risky behaviors or choosing not to. Teachers, your students may not remember all that you’ve taught them, but they will remember how you made them feel. You truly have an enormous impact on our world!

To all of you who make it a point to make every student feel seen, heard, and affirm their value within the school and classroom community, thank you! For your sleepless nights, early mornings, time away from your family long after the bell has rung, thank you! Particularly amid all the increased demands and pivots required of you in the last 14 months during the pandemic, thank you! Thank you for being the foundation of our communities and for caring and loving our children to mold a better world for all of us tomorrow!

As part of our celebration for all things teacher this week, PEAK is launching a Thank a Teacher Campaign to help promote the awareness of the crucial role that teaching plays. We ask each of our readers to do one of the following: 

  • Thank a teacher.

  • Help us raise awareness about our need for teachers to utilize PEAK's resources and to encourage parents to contact PEAK for support, training & guidance.

  • Post a message, photo, or video on social media thanking a teacher  

  • Tag PEAK and use the hashtag #ThankATeacher

  • Challenge someone else to thank a teacher.

While Teacher Appreciation Week occurs the first week of May, please remember to show your support and gratitude all year long. Our world needs educators. All of us must stand behind them in support - it truly does take a village!

PEAK is by your side for your entire parenting journey. Support our work with a one-time or monthly donation. It’s a great way to invest in our community and ensure hope, access, and inclusion for all!