On Monday, the red carpet was rolled out to welcome teachers to school. They delighted in finding their star on the walk of fame (and then spent the rest of the day shuffling kids around the paper and answering the question: Why is there paper on the floor?).
The red carpet led to the newly re-designed teacher's lounge, where paparazzi was forbidden.
Upon entering the room, they found lots of treats and notes of appreciation. Teachers truly did feel like superstars and were certainly flashing smiles worthy of the banned paparazzi. They reveled in their privacy and let their guard down while enjoying their lunch together.
The teachers at this school were so appreciative of these efforts and happily chatted about them for the remainder of the day. Unbeknownst to them, more surprises lay in store. Later in the week, the unmistakable aroma of "teacher's little helper" wafted through the halls. Was it their imagination? No. Incredibly, an authentic coffee cart complete with umbrella and barista had appeared in the hallway.
It was magical and wonderful and prompted the teachers to mull over ways in which our limited budget might be stretched to include our new barista as a permanent staff member. Sadly, it was not to be.
Now, you may be thinking this is too good to be true, trust me when I tell you that was the general feeling of the staff as well. Besides providing this celebrity treatment, the PTA parents had also made sure to notify family members that Teacher Appreciation Week was upon us and urged them to send in cards or notes of appreciation. Mission accomplished:
Finally on Friday, each teacher was treated to a spa experience during their break. As you can see, it was the best use of the copy room to date. Can you think of a better way to start the weekend? How about being able to leave a half hour early? Nice little bonus.
I share this with you not to incite jealousy. I share this because the efforts of our PTA deserve to be showcased and applauded. I sincerely believe through these actions and from conversations I've had with some, they really understand that the current wave of anti-public teacher rhetoric is just that - rhetoric. They are doing what they can to support us as teachers and it is so very appreciated.
Look, I'm not delusional. I work in an affluent area in a school that no one would deem "failing" on any level. We have involved parents and well cared for students. We work together to create a successful learning environment. In the past, I worked with students suffering the perils of poverty. I was the same teacher then that I am now. I gave it my all then and I give it my all now. The difference is that my efforts are channelled in a different direction. Teachers rise to the challenges they are presented, be it lack of supplies, staff or parental support.
If any of you work in schools fighting the effects of poverty. I send you my personal gratitude. I know how hard you work. I know you want the best for your students and I know you sometimes feel like you are doing it all alone. I walked in your shoes. I consoled students whose siblings were serving time in jail. I held students as they cried from losing a parent to violence. I watched a student lie belly down in the hot sand on the playground because she thought it would help her stomach ache, when in reality the only thing that would help was a good meal. I've pried crying students off of me and onto the bus, assuring them that tonight they wouldn't hear gunshots as they tried to sleep. I've been there and it's heartbreaking. You deserve to be treated as a celebrity this week, but sadly I'm guessing you weren't.
There are days when I cry from frustration over what's happening to our profession and I become disillusioned over the direction of education in our country. And even though I work in a fantastic school, we have our own specific challenges that try us all. Every school does. So, wherever you work, whomever you teach, whatever your level of parent involvement, please accept my sincere thanks as a colleague. I'm doing everything I can not to lose hope in our profession and I hope that you'll join me in doing the same. You are needed and valued and deserve to be told, not just during Teacher Appreciation week, but every single day. Enjoy your weekend, you deserve it :)