“Every child deserves a champion: an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists they become the best they can be.” – Rita Pierson
After spending the latter part of last semester teaching in a local elementary school, I could not help but reminisce on the memories I had of school when I was a child. I thought about the field trips, the friendships, and the crazy bus rides to sporting events with my teammates. I thought about the science experiments, challenging art projects, and spending recess everyday playing jump rope and tag. Although these memories are all prevalent, and often come to the forefront of my thoughts, they are not what I thought about the most. What I remember most about my years in school was my teachers.
I thought about the way my teachers made me feel, about the confidence they instilled in me, and how that shaped me into the person I am today. I may not remember every lesson they taught me. To be honest, I was never a straight A student. But never once did I feel inferior. My teachers took my average test grades and made them seem like they were accomplishments, for anything can appear great when teachers word it the right way. That is what they do. It is what keeps them up late at night, thinking about how to make their students comfortable, how to make them confident, and how to make them proud of who they are, despite how they perform academically.
It is unfortunate that, when we are going through the education system, we do not realize how important our teachers are in our lives. I think we grow so accustomed to their presence and their support that we do not realize what we had until we graduate and move on. It is not until we can look back and reflect on our schooling experience that we realize just how lucky we were. For some kids, their teachers were the only positive adults in their life. Their teachers were the ones who stayed up at night crying for them because they knew they were so far behind. Their teachers were the ones who slipped them an extra few snacks for the weekend because they knew that might be the only food they will get. Their teachers were the ones who came to their sporting events and cheered them on, when no one else in their family had ever gone to their game. Their teachers were the ones who came to their graduation and with tears in their eyes cheered them on, as they fearlessly walked across the stage and received their diploma. Their teachers did so much more than just teaching.
I think that is why teachers leave such a lasting legacy on our lives. They go above and beyond on a daily basis. For people think teachers only work the standard forty-hour work week, you are wrong. Teachers may spend forty hours a week with your children, but when do you think they grade papers? When do you think they write lessons and make revisions to lessons that were unsuccessful? When do you think they have conferences and make phone calls to parents of children they are worried about? Let me tell you…they do this on their own time. They do this when they could be spending time with their own families. They do this when they could be sleeping or spending time with their friends. They do this while you are on your couch watching TV after your 9-5 job that stops the minute you leave the office.
Teachers are never asked to take upon all of these responsibilities, but they do. They do it because they care about you. They not only care about your academics but they want you to become a better person. A person who can go into the world and make something of themselves. They want you to be proud. They sacrifice so much from their own lives that I believe it is only fitting that we take the time to sacrifice some time to thank them for everything they have done and continue to do. With that being said, I challenge you to take a minute and thank your teachers. Whether that be a teacher you currently have or one you had fifteen years ago. They have given us so much, and a simple thank you in nothing in comparison to what they deserve, but it is something that will make their day and encourage them to continue on in strengthening our generations to come.
*All images courtsey of Tumblr