Teacher Appreciation in 2021; Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

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A few years ago, you know pre-covid times, I wrote a piece about appreciating teachers and all they do.

Fast forward from when I said teachers should have an all expenses paid vacation. Since then, we have doubled down, had teachers work harder, do double and sometimes triple the amount of work, for the same minimal pay. If they didn’t do enough already, now they are teaching our kids in a pandemic, monitoring mask wearing and distances.  To add to the stress some kids remote learning, some kids in person and some kids are doing a hybrid. All the while you need to be making copies, getting lesson plans out and making sure everyone is up to date and on the same page. Oh and if that weren’t enough, don’t forget you need to be cleaning surfaces with wipes that are impossible to find during your lunch break.

Some parents opted out of in person school, distance learning, and hybrid learning and kept their kids home. I am one of those parents. Guess what? I thought teachers deserved so much more, but after spending the last year at home with my two kids, teaching my older daughter how to read, my son how to make his letters and numbers, teaching Spanish, and math and making sure they’re getting enough time outside for PE, let me tell you, teachers deserve so much more than an all expenses paid vacation. Teachers deserve salaries like professional sports players.

Teachers do so much more than “teach”. They are community workers, working with our kids day in and day out, hearing everything that goes on in our house, seeing the very best and the very worst of some family situations. Teachers are counselors, friends, champions, coaches, leaders, nurses and everything in between.

Teachers get up early to meet their students with smiles and warm embraces, teachers make sure every student has lunch, or a warm coat, no questions asked. Our teachers do more for our kids than most adults in their lives, yet they are paid so poorly. What gives?

Teachers, near and far, I wish I had millions to spread around like the glitter that we all dread so much. We all know you spend your vacations worrying that your students are safe and healthy, checking emails from parents, following up on IEP’s and getting lessons planned, vacations for you mean working from home. Some of you did that  over the past year (+ some!), letting the kids into your safe space, meeting your pets and your families.

My wish for you in the next school year is that I can give you something you’d not only appreciate but make use of. You won’t ever hear me complaining about a school supply list or needing extra materials because I know first hand you always fill in for those who can’t. You spend more of your paycheck on your students than your own kids, because they are your kids and you love them as such.

As a mom who has spent the year teaching (and not up to the standards you have set) I want to say, thank you for today, yesterday, and for all the days coming. You are selfless and kind, you are the real heroes. Your laughter is infectious, your determination is unmatched, but most of all, you do it and never complain or ask for anything. I as a parent, daughter, and daughter-in-law of teachers: Thank you, thank you for all you do that’s seen and unseen.

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