It’s nice to be acknowledged by students and parents, but letting your colleagues know how much you value them is also important during Teacher Appreciation Week.
Teacher Appreciation Week is always the first full week of May, with Teacher Appreciation Day falling on the Tuesday of that week. While teaching can feel like an isolating profession at times, most teachers would admit that they wouldn’t be able to continue in this rewarding, yet difficult profession without the support of their fellow teachers.
This Teacher Appreciation Week, take a moment to thank your teacher BFFs—those incredible colleagues who support you, cry with you, roll their eyes with you, and make it a little easier to get out of bed every school day. Check out our list of 10 things your colleagues do for you on a regular basis that you might be taking for granted so you can remember to thank a teacher friend today.
1. Let You Vent
Johnny talked out in class again. Sara keeps trying to post on social media during class. Kids forgetting their homework…students disengaged while you’re trying to have a class discussion…parents calling you names for “giving” their child a bad grade on a project (they earned that grade, btw)…administrators expecting you to do more with less time and fewer resources…There’s a lot that happens in a typical school day that can make a teacher want to scream, quit, or cry. Luckily, you can count on your colleagues to let you vent when you really need it. They won’t try to give you advice, tell you what you’re doing wrong, or pass judgment. Instead, they do that often-undervalued thing called listening so you can let it all out before your frustration consumes you. This alone is worth a huge “thank you” during Teacher Appreciation Week (and every other week of the year).
2. Make Field Trips Enjoyable
Students LOVE field trips. For teachers, though, they can be a huge logistical undertaking. From permission slips to transportation, money to bagged lunches, special diets to sunscreen, organizing and actually pulling off a successful field trip is a pretty major feat. When you get to plan a grade-level or subject-wide field trip, though, you get to share the load with your incredible teacher friends who somehow make the chaos enjoyable. Knowing you’re not in it alone makes a huge difference.
3. Stop You from Getting Hangry
Teachers know “hangry” is more than a clever term coined in a Snickers commercial. With shortened lunch periods too often spent grading papers and planning lessons, teachers get hangry more often than those in other professions who actually get to eat lunch for a whole hour. Every teacher knows at least one person in their school who has an entire desk drawer full of snacks, chocolate, and protein bars so you can stop being hangry and get back to your normal, kind, patient self.
4. Encourage You to Stick to Your Goals
Whether you’re going back to school, trying to lose weight, or experimenting with a new teaching approach, having someone to encourage you, keep you motivated, and remind you of why you’re working so hard can make a huge difference in your level of success. Teachers are naturally wired to help others achieve their potential, so having these incredible motivators around you is something you should never take for granted.
5. Provide a Voice of Reason
When you’re on the edge and hanging over (as my grandmother would say), your teacher friends are always there to pull you back from the brink and be the voice of reason. Any time you desperately need good advice, profound insight, and a dose of perspective, your partners in education are there for you and speak from a place of knowledge, experience, and empathy.
6. Help You Get Organized
As the end of the school year approaches, you know who you can count on to help you tear down your classroom as you prepare to be relocated (again). Those same awesome colleagues will be there in August to help you set up your classroom, organize your supplies, and create just the right level of controlled chaos to help your creativity flourish. When it’s time to plan the school picnic, field day, or parent night, they’ll still be by your side after everyone else has gone home.
7. Make Staff Meetings Bearable
There are few things worse than attending a staff meeting that has absolutely nothing to do with you, your subject, or your grade level after teaching all day. You just want to go home so you can get caught up on grading in the comfort of your sweatpants, and instead you get to sit for an hour and hear about all of the changes happening in your building that directly contradict all of the changes made last month. Your only salvation? Getting to exchange sarcastic looks with your teacher friends who understand exactly what you’re thinking and totally get the irony of it all.
8. Come to the Rescue When Your Lesson Plan Falls Apart
We’ve all had that moment when a well-planned lesson comes crashing down around you. Sometimes A/V equipment fails, a box of beakers hits the floor, and the last teacher who used the cart of iPads forgets to charge them. Whenever things go catastrophically wrong, your colleagues are there with extra supplies, ideas, and books to help you not only get through it, but do so with grace and humor.
9. Support You During Parent-Teacher Conferences and Open House
Sometimes parents are the hardest part of teaching. Trying to plan a successful open house can be downright scary because you know a roomful of parents will be silently (or not so silently) judging you the entire time. Parent-teacher conferences can feel like a combat zone where you’re constantly under attack instead of being viewed as a partner in your students’ success. Luckily, your fellow educators are there to help you plan for things that will probably go wrong during open house, and help you prepare for tough questions and conversations that are bound to come up at those parent-teacher conferences. Still worried? Check out some suggestions on having an outstanding open house and more productive parent-teacher conferences.
10. Understand You
There’s a reason military veterans often get together long after their service to their country has ended—a unique bond forms among people who share a unique experience that others can’t understand. While you’ve only served together in the trenches in the most figurative way, the same type of bond often exists between educators who have shared the struggles and successes of the classroom year after year. Teachers understand teachers in a way no one else can because they’ve been where you are and know there’s light on the other side.
This Teacher Appreciation Week, take a moment to thank your colleagues for being there for you. Your experiences in this trying profession would be very different without their support, humor, and snacks.
At STEM Jobs, we thank you for dedicating your lives to helping students become lifelong learners this Teacher Appreciation Week and every week.
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