Being a teacher in today’s world means being able to fulfill so many different job requirements: tech wiz, nurse, craftsmen, therapist, and of course - educator. Within the last two years, we have seen how teachers have had to take their innovation to a whole new level to connect with students in ways that were completely unprecedented.
Individuals that choose to become teachers do so because they want to have a direct impact on the positive changes that can happen in the world. They chose to inspire the next generation of leaders and empower them to succeed beyond the school yard. However, when the only way that you can connect with those students is through a computer screen, that connection can be difficult to maintain.
Teachers need to be appreciated this year, even more than in year’s past, for finding ways to continue to educate and inspire our students. They need to be recognized for keeping a vital part of this world continuing to move forward when there was no roadmap to be followed.
On top of navigating the treacherous unknown waters of a pandemic era, teachers should also be recognized for doing this while having to keep themselves and their families afloat. Mental health has become a pivotal talking point since 2020 because the isolation of quarantine brought to light some of our personal issues we have kept in the dark for too long.
Teachers chose to shine for their students, even when they felt like they couldn’t see the light for themselves at the end of this pandemic tunnel. They took on the challenges we all faced personally, and were still there and available for all their students. Even when they didn’t have the answers to the questions being asked, they were still willing to try to help their students understand the unknown.
So when appreciating the teachers who kept our classrooms alive over the last two years, remember to appreciate the person that the teacher is. Appreciate that they were willing to put themselves second to their students in the classroom, and help them celebrate themselves and all they have accomplished!
Teachers, we know taking care of yourself hasn’t been easy. But here’s some tips to help keep care for yourself outside of the classroom:
Notifications Off. It is almost impossible to be able to survive in this world without your cell phone. Because of this, our accessibility can easily be taken advantage of. It’s important to remember that you deserve time in your day when you don’t have to worry about emails and messages. Set your notifications to off on your school email and messaging apps by a specific time every night. If anyone needs to contact you for an emergency, make sure they have a way to reach you but this way you allow time in your day to focus on yourself.
Treat Yourself. Too often, we are taught that we are only worth of rewards when we are able to accomplish an end goal. For teachers, that could be something as simple as saying, “After I grade 45 essays, I will deserve a reward tonight.” How about instead of relying on quantitative data, we understand quality? So set up something fun you can do at the end of each week, each grading period, etc. The reward isn’t about how well you did something, but simply about you having completed the tasks at hand. That’s enough to celebrate.
For those of us who want to show our appreciation for teachers, here are some tips on how to make that happen:
Think Outside the Classroom. Principals and school districts need to rethink how they shape their rewards and support for their educators to go beyond their classrooms, or even the school building. Sure, a luncheon for teacher appreciation week is nice - but we need to start celebrating the human beings beyond the classroom. How about instead of a luncheon, provide them with a meal kit that they can prepare with their loved ones at home? Or gift cards for a spa that they can choose to use on their own time. Think of using incentives for the individual first, not the teacher. Allow them time to exist outside of the classroom.
Could It Be An Email? Administrators - we know that you want to keep everyone informed with the information they need during the school day. But before you call that all-staff meeting after school, or during a lunch period, think about if it is possible to get the same information across in a concise email. This reflects a respect for the teacher’s personal time. Their lunch hour, or lunch 20 minutes, may be the only time during the middle of a busy day when they can decompress for a bit. Creating an email with all the information they need, and keeping the number of emails as limited as possible, will allow each teacher to take in the information as needed, but at a time that is convenient for them.
Words Matter. Handwritten notes have faded from our day-to-day lives, but it doesn’t mean that the messages that those notes once contained can’t still be appreciated. If you’re a parent or administrator, don’t ever doubt what an email, text, or possibly even a handwritten note, could do to help a teacher understand that they are appreciated for everything they are doing. Maybe you don’t even have to point out a specific moment of appreciation, but rather just let them know you are thinking of, and thankful for, everything that they do in their classroom.
Here at Teaching Matters, we are so appreciative of teachers not only in May, but every single month of the year. We see the hard work, dedication, and love that teachers pour into their students - and we are tremendously thankful when they allow us to be a part of their educational process.
We are happy to be offering a $25 gift card as a special ‘thank you’ gift to teachers this May. Click below to enter the chance to win this gift. Two winners will be selected and we will announce it on May 26, 2022.
Congratulations, teacher appreciation raffle winners!
- Monica Koziol, Chicago Public Schools
- Bozhena Levine, NYC Public Schools