2016: Teacher Appreciation Year?

Last week, I visited my former school, colleagues and students. Although I anticipated an enjoyable reunion, the visit proved worthwhile, to say the least.

As soon as I walked through the front door, I was quickly greeted by former colleagues, ranging from administrators to security guards. The main reason for this camaraderie is easy for educators to understand. However, for those who have never worked within a school building, the school year, inherently, nurtures a sense of community between most, if-not-all, educators. I’d even argue that this educator camaraderie is necessary. Needless to say, I expected to exchange hugs, smiles and stories with my former colleagues, and, to a large degree, I also expected a similar outcome when I ran into my former students.

To my delight, my kiddos did not disappoint.

Although I planned to spend time with my former students, during their lunch period, a few students “caught wind” that I was in the building. At the risk of sounding narcissistic, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy seeing my kiddos press their faces against the classroom door window while trying, in vain, to open a locked door so they can say hello. Or, being greeted by a mob of kiddos, during their recess period, on the outdoor basketball court. Both scenes, and others, are now permanently stored in my memory bank, FOREVER!

After my visit, and during my walk home, I learned a valuable lesson: Regardless of the current education reform dialogue, both in terms of policy and politics, teachers do, in fact, make an enormous difference in all of their students’ lives.


Well, it comes down to simple mathematics.

For teachers, 180+ school days is more than enough time to make a meaningful impact in their students’ lives, which is precisely what all talented teachers do best. For 180+ school days, these teachers wake up, even before the sun “rises,” determined to “make a difference”. For 180+ school days, these teachers often sacrifice their personal lives for the lives of their students. For 180+ school days, these teachers are your child’s/children’s parent, away from home.

Put simply, all talented teachers deserve more than a token celebration, such as “Teacher Appreciation Week.” They deserve more than a lack of professional trust. They deserve more than a “seat at the table.” They all deserve a teacher appreciation culture and mindset, within the education reform landscape, throughout the year.

So, as we approach a new year, I kindly ask you to add one more item to your 2016 New Year’s Resolution(s) list: Appreciate your child’s/children’s teacher(s) throughout the year.