This week is Teachers Appreciation Week. I love that we can spend a week focusing on showing appreciation to great teachers. They work so hard to help shape our children. I know my life has been blessed by great teachers. And Teacher Appreciation Week helps teach kids that we should be grateful for those who give us service, even if it is their job and they get paid for it. When teachers feel valued it helps keep them motivated to continue to help even more kids and share their passion.
Unlike our school back in California, our school has an appreciation week but it's just a committee on the Parents organization group that provide breakfast and lunch. (A committee I will have to volunteer for next year) I love making a little gift or note that we send to our teachers each day to show our thanks. Because our budget is low we keep things simple. Monday my oldest son, Gandalf, said, "Mom. No one else got my teacher a gift." He seemed really bummed. I let him know things are different at this school but we can still show our thanks.
The most important 'gift' we give is on the last day. And that is a letter or note expressing our thanks to that teacher. It's a great writing exercise. They have to write why they love or like their teacher. And I don't know if I did it my son's first year, but I too try and write a note expressing my thanks for their kindness, patience, and love for my child. I also like to remember our wonderful school nurse who takes care of my son Draco everyday. Keeping him safe and managing his diabetes while I am not there. I am so thankful for wonderful teachers who encourage my kids to think, ask questions, teach kindness, and show my children love.
I also wanted to thank some of my favorite teachers...
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Mrs. Axtell, my Journalism and Cheer Advisor
I loved being in journalism in 8th, 9th, and 10th grade. I kinda like writing even though I am not a particularly great at it. But I was much better at it than at math. When starting at Bolsa Grande High there was a need for more girls on the drill team. It sounded fun and I didn't even have to try out (something I never would have done at that time in my life). AND the best reason: I wouldn't have to take PE. I ended up being pretty good at it and I really enjoyed it. At the end of my freshman year my journalism teacher was taking over as cheer advisor. She really pressed me to join. I decided to go for it even though it was like turning to the dark side. And I loved it even more!!! Having spirit and encouraging others brought me joy! I love to dance. And sometimes I still miss that smell of grass at night and the excitement of a game. Because our school wasn't very competitive in that area I made it on varsity and even got to cheer with my brother. I am so thankful Mrs. Axtell encouraged me to try out. In addition to that she was kind, cool, fun and passionate about teaching. I could tell she cared about all her students and she was trying to make a difference.
Mrs. Marquez my Math teacher.
She is probably my favorite teacher ever, which is surprising because she taught math. Math was such a struggle for me. But I could tell that she cared about her students. This wasn't just a job for her to do and be done. She was really trying to teach us. She was passionate about sharing her knowledge and encouraging kindness. I could come by any time to get help. Before school. During lunch and after school. Her door was always open. And I had to take her up on it because I had a hard time processing what to do. She was patient and encouraging. And when you did a great job, she was proud of you. I would sometimes be there during lunch and was surprised to find so many kids hanging out there. At first I thought, why would you wanna hang out in a math class during lunch? (Even though I admired and liked Mrs. Marquez) Then I realized this was a safe, fun place to hang out. These kids were accepted here and could hang out and make friends. Everyone was really kind in there. She was the advisor to the Baron Bridge Builders Club, a conflict resolution club that encouraged harmony. I don't think she got paid for running that but she just wanted to help teenagers. I am so glad I had her as a teacher.
Mr. Theriault my English teacher
I changed high schools my Jr. year. The dumb office ladies put me in "regular" English even though I was in college prep. They told me my old school's college prep was probably equal to our 'regular' English class. I thought they were lame, but it all worked out. I was going to switch around my classes after the first couple of weeks to a college prep but realized I couldn't get in to Mr. T's class for college prep due to my classes I wanted for my schedule. And I really liked him. And it worked out as I went to cosmetology school which has blessed my life so much. I really liked Mr. T. He was funny which I realized not every teacher can be. It was his first year teaching there. He was great at trying to relate to us to help us learn. He encouraged us to think and question. One week he was teaching us our vocabulary words. We then we split off in smaller groups. He was talking to a group of boys who might get labeled troublemakers or boys who don't care about learning. He was relating things to them and probably had no idea that I was able to hear him. And I loved that. He was reaching out to them. One time I was doing my book report and I told him how I loved reading romance books. He gave me a long list, which I wrote down, of great authors to check out. I continued with my report and ended with telling him these books were love stories but not trashy romance novels. He made a face and told me I probably didn't want to check out all those authors after all. Even though he gave me a list of trashy romance authors, as a parent, I still love that. He wanted to encourage me to read. Everyone needs to find books they like. And I was 16. Old enough to decide what I wanted to read. He tried to teach life lessons and encourage us to be better people.
Mrs. Hopkins, Gandalf's 3rd grade teacher.
3rd grade is really hard. The work load increases. In Gandlalf's IEP they told us we should send him to a "special needs" class and he might not be able to keep up with the 3rd grade work load, and then it might be too late to switch him to this program. My husband and I felt like he needed to stay here. Mrs. Hopkins was an answer to our prayers. She was so kind and loving. She was so patient. She encouraged him. She knew when he was over stimulated and needed a break. She was so patient. Reminding him and prompting him and gently and kindly reminding him again. She was looking out for him when it came to friends or kids being mean to him.I know she loves him and what more can a parent want? When someone loves you you are more willing to listen to them. I know it must have been hard having a kid with aspergers in your class. But you would never know. A loving kind teacher is a treasure!
Ms. Coad or Mrs. Richards now, Gandalf's 1st grade teacher.
Some people were concerned about her. I heard she was loud and her class room was kinda crazy. And typically aspergers do well with structure. But she was so awesome!!! She loved life and if there was anything crazy about her class it was fun crazy. She sang to kids to teach them things. She had fun teaching She introduced Gandalf to Magic Tree House books. She came to his pokemon party. She came to his baptism the following year. I heard she was at sport events for lots of different students. She was active and involved. She always runs along with the kids for our school's jog a thon. She was fun and passionate about teaching helping these kids become great people. She put an end to any means comments about Gandalf. She was patient and so wonderful. Another answer to prayers.
Mrs. Martone Gandalf's kindergarten teacher
On the 2nd day of school I was told by Mrs. Martone that he kicked her in the face. I thought, "Oh this teacher is going to really not like us". But that's not how it was at all. That's when I told her we thought he might have aspergers. She encouraged us and supported us through all our IEP's. She was sweet and kind to him. She made school fun and called him sweetie. She was such a great kindergarten teacher to both Gandalf and Draco. You can tell she loves children and teaching. She gave hugs and was so patient. She gave Gandalf harder work when she knew he could handle it. And she was so patient with Draco when I was in survival mode with baby girl in the NICU. And at the end of the year when we were dealing with so many doctors appointments and possible health problems she understood what was happening at home.
And there are many more teachers who have blessed my life and the lives of my children. And there are many friends and cousins that I know who are great teachers. I picked two who have been a good example to me.
My friend works in Los Angeles. The area is really poor and they have so many needs. Natalie is passionate about helping them. It's a long drive and a hard job. And her kids LOVE her. And she loves them. I get a holiday card with her and her class. She loves those kids and is fighting to help them become better people and pull themselves out of poor neighborhoods. I was able to help with a career day one time and it was awesome. I could tell those kids loved her. She kinda reminded me of Ms. Coad. I think they would be great friends. I am proud of my friend for her desire to help kids that really need good teachers.
Mr. or Coach Crabtree.
I would cut my girlfriend's sons hair. (Love those boys) And I started cutting her husband's hair as well. BJ is a really great man whom I admire. I could tell by talking to him that he loves teaching and coaching. And that when you are coaching kids it's not just about that sport. You are coaching and helping these kids reach their potential and become a man or woman. One of the sports he coached was football. And one of the things he pressed forward about was kindness. He encouraged his team and his students to treat others with respect and to be kind. So much more important than any play he could teach them. If my son's ever play football I hope and pray they have a coach like him. It's not about being macho or being popular. It's about doing what is right and being kind.
Teachers, Nurses, and Coaches shape and encourage us. They open doors and encourage us to grow and stretch. And we need to thank them. We need to edify and encourage them. They need to know how much they are blessing our lives and that we are thankful. I am thankful for great examples I have had throughout my life. I challenge you and your kids to write a sincere note, even if it's a quick one. We want them to know they are valued!!