I once had this teacher. He was my third grade teacher, and his name was Mr. Lucas. He was the best teacher I've ever had - he made learning fun, the classroom was exciting and alive and I looked forward to going to school every day. It helped that he was what could have been classified as a "hippie", and many days I wondered what he'd be wearing in the class when I arrived.
Truly, going to school in the 1970's was interesting. Especially the bean sprout sandwiches on whole wheat bread that he packed.
Teachers have one of the toughest jobs around. They have to impart grade specific wisdom into children who may not be willing participants. These days, they have the added pressure of broken families, childhood hunger and obesity, and overzealous parents with whom they have to contend - and, yet, people are still signing up for the job.
This school year, one of my children was put into the classroom of a woman who I truly feel is the best teacher that has ever lived. She makes each child feel loved and appreciated, special and adored. She has a good grasp on discipline, and yet no one ever leaves her class angry or unheard. It has truly been a miraculous year.
One of my other children has not been so lucky. In fact, I often have wondered why this particular teacher chose to teach - she clearly does not enjoy the job or the children. I've all but given up and now I'm anxiously awaiting the end of the school year.
That's sad, but it's all too common.
One thing that teachers never get enough of - well, besides money - is appreciation. Sure, the little children in early elementary years might draw a picture for the teacher, but I'm talking about real, honest to goodness appreciation. When I make cookies, I send some in to my kids' teachers. At Christmas, I made each teacher a loaf of bread and delivered it with a jar of honey butter. I send in extra tissues and hand sanitizer, pencils and copies of the reading books. I've donated the books my children no longer read to the classroom libraries, and I've been known to bring a teacher a cup of Starbucks on a random day for after school enjoyment.
At the end of this school year, my favorite teachers will receive a soft sided beach cooler and a beach towel (bought in bulk at the end of last summer). I want them to know how much I appreciate all of the work that they do, all of the sacrifices they do and everything they've given up - all to teach my children.
Making a teacher feel important doesn't take much, but it can go a long way towards helping that teacher enjoy the job and feel willing to go the extra steps.
Who are your kids' most inspiring teachers, and why? What are some creative ways you let them know how much they're appreciated?