Teachers, We Thank You

teacherthanksThank you for a great year of hard work. You put in 12-16 hour days for nine months and it shows. My children know more stuff, understand more of their world, and have been impacted by your life and they will never be the same.

Thank you for working at night and on the weekends. When we see the homework folders brimming with papers and we see your packed school-day schedule, we are keen enough to know that you are putting in hours beyond the classroom to make learning happen. That means a lot to us.

Thank you for all you did when nobody was looking. Most of what you did everyday was not observed by another adult. But it matters so much that you did your best for the sake of the kids. As a dedicated teacher, you gave it your all because you knew that every day mattered.

Thank you for putting up with the system. You are more scrutinized than ever before and, it seems, less appreciated. Testing, evaluations, assessments, and longer school days make your job grueling. We’ve got some changes and improvements to make in American education and your patience and perseverance through this stage is appreciated.

Thank you for being diligent under less-than-perfect leadership. No principal, superintendent, or political leader is perfect. Decisions are made upstream that affect you. Political fights and policy decisions are often not implemented well and you bear the brunt. We are grateful that you demonstrated grace in keeping those factors at bay for the sake of our kids.

Thank you for not quitting in the middle of the year. The temptation was probably there and the grass probably looked greener somewhere else. However, it would’ve been so disruptive to our children. So, thanks for sticking with it.

Thank you for doing the extra things to bring life to the classroom. Throwing that class party, instituting that rewards system that got everyone pumped, and giving permission to dress all crazy that one day made a difference. It helped us get them out of bed in the morning and made the whole process a little easier.

Thank you for seeing potential in our children. We need a village to help us see all they can become. In our village, you are a trainer of little warriors and the hero of their hearts. They believed that you believed in them and that made a difference.

Thank you for telling us the good stuff. The stickers you gave them, the certificates you bestowed, and the upward trends on report cards made us feel better. As parents, we feel highly inadequate in our calling. Many times, we feel like absolute failures. We needed to hear those positive words more than you know.

Thank you also for telling us the bad stuff – for reaching out when you were concerned about my child. We are painfully aware that they are not perfect and we want to know when they need correction. The note, email, or phone call meant a lot and was the warning bell we needed to have a talk with our child. Thanks for being on the team with us as we seek to raise our children the best we know how.

Thank you for speaking into the heart of our child. We gave you a sacred trust and you stewarded it well. You taught them without talking down to them. You encouraged them without letting them coast. You corrected them without crushing them. You loved them without limits.

Thank you for loving all the kids, not just mine. The community of a classroom is a cherished space and you made it a family. Thanks especially for serving the kids who come from difficult home situations. The time you spent with them was perhaps the best time you spent all year. You were a constant presence of love in their life when they needed it most.

Thank you for forming a relationship with my children. You are more influential than you know. You have formed a forever picture on the memories of their minds.

Oh yeah…and thanks for teaching. It is a true art and your mastery shows.

Now, ignore the people who deride you for having a long break. You more than deserve it. Please take at least four weeks and do nothing – no professional development, curriculum planning, continuing education credits, or sketching out next year. You can love our children best by stepping away from it all for a little while for some recreation. Recreation is not simply having fun, it’s re-creating yourself. It can be defined as refreshment of strength and spirits after work. So, rest and refresh. We’ll need you back in the village soon enough.

Jason Janz is married to Jennifer. They have four boys in 2nd, 5th, 7th, and 9th grade. This year, they also had three foster boys live with them. In the mornings, six of them went off to five different schools to be taught by twenty-five different teachers. They are grateful!

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