It is the second day of Teacher Appreciation Week and I have already been spoiled. A plant, bouquet of flowers, a lunch out, and a “Best Teacher” balloon have been nice highlights of the week so far. Of course, lots of hugs, notes, and sweet words from the kids are the best. I have a “Sunshine Folder” in my filing cabinet that I fill with sweet notes from the kids, parents, or others that when I need some sunshine…. it’s just what I need to perk up. Thanks to Mom for the tip on that one.
Earlier today, I began thinking of some teachers that I really appreciate especially now that I am one myself and know what it takes. So, while they may never see this, here are my top three.
Mrs. Adamson – While she was Ms. Buchanan as I was a Kindergartner, Mrs. Adamson made a huge impact on me. I was Queen of the Nerves when I started school. Cried all the way there. Dad would open the door for me every morning, and while the tears stopped after the first couple of days, I just took some time before I felt comfortable. She is the one that made me love it. She never pushed me, but she challenged me enough for me to overcome my fears of a new place. One big memory for me is she had this AWESOME Reading loft in her room. You climbed up a steep (in the eyes of a five year old) ladder. Once you were up, it was like a dream world for a small Kindergartener. It felt like you were in your own little world and no one could see you. There were bean bags, puppets, and of course books. I loved it.
Until I had to come down. You see, I was FEARLESS when it came to that steep ladder while going up. But going down was a whole ‘nother story. For a good part of the year, I would climb down it, but Mrs. Adamson would have to be there with her hands on my sides in order for me to feel safe. Finally, one day, I made it down the ladder on my own and I can still see her encouraging me down and bragging on me after I did… after that day, I never needed her help.
Thanks for helping me down the ladder, Mrs. Adamson.
Mrs. Walker– This one is more hindsight than when I was in her class. She was my sixth grade teacher and she was TOUGH but the sweetest lady you could meet. To this day, she gave me one of my hardest assignments I can remember. I had to plan a trip to Portugal… including airfare, sites to see, lodging, cost of the trip, etc. Remember, this is before the Internet wasthe Internet. However, she challenged me everyday and is the type of teacher I want to be remembered for… challenging, funny (she had a bet with Mr. Wallace across the hall every year over the UT/Bama game… the losing teacher had to wear the other team’s gear for a day), but you knew she cared. Didn’t hurt that she loved me because I was a fellow Bama gal.
Mr. Willis – He was (and is) a favorite among us MJMS alums. He was my eighth grade Social Studies teacher and he made history FUN. I don’t even remember a specific assignment or project, I just remember him acting out scenes and making those historical figures “real” if that made sense. I’m talking running across the room reenacting the War of 1812. Even with second graders, when I do my best to make Abraham Lincoln come to life or pretend we’re on the Mayflower… I think of him. He’s also a special one because he is my first memory of 9/11. We walked into class and he had it on TV. Of course, we were all confused and not sure what was going on, and he was just as mad as could be, but saying “Don’t worry guys. We’ve got this.” In only his way, he reassured us.
Maybe there’s one teacher that sticks out in your mind. Or three. Or ten. I can’t tell you how much it would bless them if you emailed them or wrote them. Or if your child’s teacher has blessed you this year, a small note never hurts. Something I need to do, too.
While teacher appreciation week is fabulous, it’s the moments like helping a kid face a fear (see: Mrs. Adamson) or seeing their pride when finishing a hard test or assignment (see: Mrs. Walker) or hearing them laugh when making learning fun (see: Mr. Willis) that really keep us going.
To all my lovely coworkers and teaching family & friends… thanks for doing what you do. You’re making a difference.
It’s corny but true, “We’re not in it for INCOME, we’re in it for the OUTCOME.”