Student writing a thank you message to his teacher on a blackboard.

Not Everyone Appreciates Teachers (But You Should)

This week, social media has been full of all things promoting teacher appreciation. My Pinterest feed has so many wonderful and creative ideas to show a teacher just how thankful we are. There are pictures all over Facebook with the ideas different friends have carried out and want to show off that they are giving to their kid’s teachers.

Teachers are the talented force leading our future. They absolutely should be appreciated. I speak from the heart because I have been a teacher for fourteen years. My school’s Parent-Teacher Association has spoiled us every year during this appreciation week. They even make it a point to do so even when it is not nationally recognized. Teachers do not make a lot of money and when it comes to perks that other jobs may have in terms of material things and even a decent cafeteria for coffee, we just don’t have it. This week as we are showered in chocolate, coffee, goodies, and gift cards, we enjoy it. We LOVE the flowers and homemade gifts. There is nothing like a student who has spent time on a card to tell us they love us. It always makes the heart full to be appreciated.

This is not the case in all schools.

Think about your child’s school. What does it look like? How are the other parents? Do they mainly have jobs? Is there a big support system within the community of the school?

Think about schools where you would not want your child to be at each day. Is there poverty? Drug issues? Fighting?

Now think about the teachers who walk into that environment each day.

Schools do not all look alike. There are people who teach children whose parents are not involved at all. Sometimes, parents are working more than one or two jobs and cannot be there to do homework daily. Grandparents or other caretakers may have stepped in because the parent is in prison or has simply abandoned all parental duties.

Communities may be full of crime and low-income housing.

The children in these schools come each day with the weight of the world on their shoulders and dealing with circumstances out of their control. Teachers still have to teach from their lesson plans and implement the curriculum that they have spent so much time preparing.

How would you feel if your child passed a drug deal on the streets as they walked home or that the threat of gang violence was a normal existence?

As these children sit in a classroom, there is a teacher who is there to believe in them. To teach them even if they are not the most behaved or if they have been raised to believe a teacher is out to get them. These teachers fight battles to help students succeed when so many things are in the way of reaching their goals.

Many times you will hear a teacher say I want to make a difference or that if they do not step up, who will?

Trust me when I say these heroes are not all getting cute little cards that say, “I love you a latte” or a parent-sponsored meal that day.

Education is so important in a child’s life. It will bring them the tools they need to be successful as they grow up and navigate the real world.

Teachers are the captains that bring the love of learning and achieving to so many in our population that have little to nothing else. That is a hard reality.

Do you know a teacher who is faithful to a student or class that could use love and learning in their lives? Do you know a school nearby that could benefit with some donations of books or resources that other schools get on a normal basis?

Would you be willing to appreciate someone who is doing it for the cause even if the outcome is not something you always have a front row seat to?

Teacher appreciation is such a universal concept. It is truly one that we should see everywhere.

Thank you to all of you who support teachers.

This post originally appeared on Forty Wishes and Counting. It has been reprinted with permission.

Stacey Waltzer blogs at 40 Wishes and Counting. She is a wife, mom to two adorable crazy kids, and a teacher just trying to keep the “in” out of the insanity that can be her life. When she am not blogging about adventures at 40, mom life, and friendships, you might find her hiding in the closet eating the last piece of cake. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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