Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What Does It Mean To Appreciate?

With this being Teacher Appreciation Week, I looked up "appreciate" in the dictionary (sorry, I am dorky like that). What it said was "to recognize the full worth of" and "be grateful for something." So that is what I will try to do in this post.

First, I was luckier than most to have many excellent teachers throughout my own school years... teachers who still have an impression on me to this day. Teachers who pushed me to do the best I could. Teachers who encouraged me to follow my dreams. And teachers who I still have in my head as I myself now teach. I was once told that many students are lucky to have 3 or 4 teachers who truly made a difference in their lives. I counted 10 of those in my life between elementary and grad school.

Besides my own teachers, there are the teachers who have taught my own children. Teachers who took the time to learn my children's unique idiosyncrasies, who learned to deal with the negative side of giftedness, and who encouraged them to keep their originality. I think my own children have also been lucky enough to have plenty of these special teachers already in their young lives.

Finally, I want to appreciate the teachers who I am honored to call my friends. Some I know in real life. I sub in their classrooms. I learn from them. I share ideas with them. Some I know through the cyberworld... blogstalking and blogworshipping them... jumping on their fabulous ideas to implement in every classroom I enter.

It takes a special breed of person to become, enjoy, and stay a teacher. I believe we may be our own species. After all, how many people don't dare enter a classroom because they know they would be eaten alive by 7-year-olds. Or how many people leave the teaching profession screaming because they just couldn't handle it. And all this for comparably pitiful pay.

I remember a trip my husband and I took to Costa Rica. We were on a tour with a group of teachers from around the country. Our Costa Rican tour guide told us he was honored to be our guide since we were teachers. When we acted surprised, he revealed to us that in Costa Rica, they hold teachers in just as high regard (pay-wise also) with doctors and lawyers. "But you teach the children," he told us.

I think we should adopt some of that Costa Rican sentiment. Maybe someday in the future, Teacher Appreciation Week will not even be necessary... because we would be appreciated all the time.


  1. I also experienced this for the first time a few months ago. A woman, who is from Korea, told me how much she appreciated me for being a teacher. She also thanked me with such sincerity. I was shocked. She also mentioned how much higher teachers are held in her home country. Well thank you for all you do as well!


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