National Teacher Appreciation Week – What’s the big deal?

National Teacher Appreciation Week is celebrated during May each year. In 2019, it will take place from May 6-10. Teachers will be given inexpensive trinkets and treated to snacks, which are lovely gestures. But when you think about what teachers have to deal with throughout the year, it’s important to thank them year-round, and not just when they’re trying to hang on and make it to the end of the school year.

Teachers work their standard contract time (usually 8:00 – 3:30), plus get there early, stay late and bring work home to grade and plan in the evenings and on weekends. On top of averaging 50-hour work weeks, teachers get verbally, mentally and emotionally harassed from so many different sources:

Their administrators – “You need to do more.” “And while you’re at it, do this, this and that as well.” You need to go to this committee meeting after school every other week for the spring semester, but we won’t pay you. You need to stand out on duty on the back 40 in the cold rain. You need to attend this 504 meeting during your teaching time, but be sure your students are still learning while you’re out of the classroom. Your test scores need to be higher even though we’ve given you a classroom mixed with learning disabled, emotional disturbed, English Language Learners and below-grade-level skills students. You need to do more. You need to clean your classrooms because we’re short staffed. You need to monitor the hallways when you’re not teaching. You need to create quality lessons, but we don’t have money for your materials, and we don’t have enough paper and toner. You need to fix the copy machine. Oh, and don’t wear jeans because it’s not professional.

Their friends – Must be nice having an 8 to 3 job.

Students’ parents – My child is a saint and would never do what you’re describing. Why aren’t you doing more for my child?

The media – Our schools are broken. We need better teachers.

Teachers are hit with negativity all day long. As if they don’t have enough to put their energy toward, they also must filter enough energy to focusing on the positive so they can beat back the negativity around them and laser in on the reason they went into teaching: helping students.

If you know a teacher who works his or her tail off each and every day in order to help students better their lives, please thank that teacher. And don’t just thank them from May 6 – 10. Thank them at different times of the year when they least expect it. That moment of appreciation will give them the boost they need.

Thank you, teachers, for all that you do!

About Helene Segura, M.A. Ed., CPO®

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