June 9, 2011

A Little Teacher Appreciation

As a writer of children's books who does a lot of school visits, (and as a parent), it has been my privilege to meet many truly amazing teachers.

Teaching has got to be one of the hardest and most important jobs there is.

Anyone who has children knows that, wonderful as they are, they can be trying at times even when they're your own, and even when you don't have a group of 25 or 30 to manage... (unless you're the Duggars :))  Teaching requires intelligence, understanding, kindness, a sense of humor, and patience in spades.

To teachers we entrust the job of guiding our young ones, helping us help them become good people who will be ready and able to take on the responsibilities required of them when they become the adults of tomorrow.

What could be more important?

And yet teachers are so often underpaid and under-appreciated.

So please forgive me if I now wax a little prideful :)

I know a little about this first hand.  My husband (in addition to being the best of husbands and fathers, a talented singer/songwriter/musician, an avid runner, a gifted stand-up comic, and so much more) is a career teacher.  He's an amazing guy - one of those people who could teach anything to anyone.  Not only is he incredibly articulate, he also has great instincts and an innate understanding of how best to reach people (kids and adults alike) and how to make the subject or material most accessible to them.

He has taught dyslexic children the joy of doing something they thought they couldn't.  He has taught medieval history, extra english (language skills for those who need extra help in reading and writing), and geography, and led an 8th grade homeroom for years.  He has taught phys ed to grades K-9, and he started and continues to run his schools' cross-country, winter running, and track teams, in the process bestowing upon his students self-confidence, an appreciation for physical exercise and the outdoors, and a lifetime skill.

In spite of how many children he's taught and helped over the last 20 plus years, he often feels like he has little to show for himself, that he hasn't really done anything important.  I can remind him time and again of the lives he's touched and changed for the better, the children who wouldn't be where they are today without him, but sometimes those kinds of sentiments carry more weight when they come directly from the people involved.

So it is with great pleasure that I tell you what happened yesterday.

He came home from work, and with wonder (and gratitude) in his voice, told me that his school yearbook had, this year, been dedicated to him.

Really and truly.

What an honor!

(And he's not even retiring, so it's not like the kids felt like they had to dedicate to him.  It was purely based on their love and appreciation :))

It may seem a small thing, but it means so much to him.  And I feel so proud of him, and so pleased for him, because he richly deserves that recognition.

(he's the one on the far right)
With the school year drawing to a close, I hope we can all take a moment to consider our children's teachers and perhaps tell them through a quick word or a little thank you note how much we appreciate all they do for our children.

After all, where would we be without them?

If you have any wonderful teacher stories, please share!


  1. What a great dedication! An awesome teacher has such a long-lasting effect.

  2. So true, Shan. I think we all have special teachers we remember.

  3. Aw, how sweet and what an honor. I agree with the others, great teachers have a life time influence. I still think of my high school teacher when I write. And when I do get published (outside of anthologies), I'll send her a copy of the book. It will make her smile.

  4. That's lovely Susannah, I bet he feels great now. And Father's day just around the corner too, how nice.

    I will be sure to write a nice thank you note to Matthew's teacher.

  5. That's wonderful for your husband. Everything you say about teacher is true. There concern about the students and the material doesn't end with the end of the day. How nice that he's been recognized.

  6. If it weren't for some excellent teachers who spent their personal time to teach me stuff, I would never have passed Maths.

    Congratulations to your husband. I'm going to hug a teacher tonight (my cousin).

  7. What a wonderful tribute to Eric! Many congratulations to him. Teri

  8. Aww. Reading this got me a little misty-eyed. I've had some incredibly amazing, honest, and motivating teachers over the years, and it seems like it's always the best ones who don't get the recognition they deserve. I'm glad your husband did. :-)

    <3 Gina Blechman

  9. Congratulations to your husband! Every teacher needs a little recognition.

  10. Natasha, Catherine, Theresa, Kari Marie, Teri, Gina and Brooke - thank you all for your kind words. I'm so pleased for him, and really think he deserves it! And that all teachers should get some moments of recognition for all they do!

  11. How wonderful for your husband! Sounds like you're both getting the recognition you deserve at the moment! :-)

    My Mum is usually a primary school drama teacher at a handful of schools, and she has brought so many kids out of their shells and boosted their confidence in themselves. Their eyes light up whenever they see her - it's wonderful to see. I say 'usually' because at the moment she's teaching the prep children at Grantham, a town that was almost washed away in the floods earlier this year. Most of her kids had some very traumatic experiences, but I couldn't think of anyone better to guide them through their first year of school than Mum. As you can probably tell, I'm very proud of her!

  12. Cally - your Mum sounds wonderful. I'm sure her kids are so lucky to have her!

  13. Aw, that is so sweet! It's one little thing like that that makes all the hard work worth it :-)

  14. Yes, Rachel, it's amazing how meaningful it is :)

  15. Wonderful post! Yes we are on the same wavelength (praising teachers), but we can't thank our teachers enough. They deserve all the accolades and appreciation we can give them. Congrats to Eric!

  16. This was a joy to read. I actually got choked up. And yes, I have a little teacher story for you, and wish I could actually post the sentiment in the note, but can't. Just this past Wednesday (May2014) my daughter-in-law (she teaches 3rd-5th grade special ed.) received a letter from one of her 5th-graders. He sang her praises, which made us all very proud. My favorite sentence was something like "Sorry Mrs. So-and-So, Miss What's-Her-Name and Mrs. Whatchamacallit, but Mrs. Taylor is fantastic!" It was great :) In fact, as a gift I intend to make her a nice binder in which she can save all these memorable things through the years 'cause I'm SURE she'll have many more to come :)

  17. So nice of you to come over and read it, Donna Marie! I really appreciate it :) And what a lovely idea for your daughter-in-law! I'm sure she'll love that, and will have many things over the years to fill it up! You could always do a post for her on your blog :)


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