Ms. T back in 1983 saw something in me that I never saw and inspired me to go into education. She set up an independent study course option for me to spend 4th hour everyday working at the elementary school across the parking lot in the kindergarten classroom. While my direct teaching years were in preschool and I haven't been in a child classroom other than my own kids since 1991, education policy ended up being my lifelong career. DH had a terrific teacher, mentor, coach, who formed a bond and later, that same teacher was a mentor and coach to our son. The older kids had teachers that let them loose with cameras to do school projects, letting the see the subject matter, their world and tell a story in their way. There was the Bob Saget look alike teacher DD1's sophomore year of high school who told us flat out, "your daughter CAN write", and supported her moving on to college English and literature classes. DD2 has now and has had so many good teachers over the last 12 years, I couldn't begin to share the difference they have all made in her life.
Sure, like in any profession, my kids had teachers that either dialed it in, clearly chose the wrong profession, or were burnt out and should have moved on. I feel horrible when I hear stories of DH's grade school in an inner city, poorly staffed, school, where he experienced both verbal and physical abuse. Yes, there was a time when back handing a student across the face was acceptable. The US is not there yet, but efforts are being made to try and better resource all schools,with intentionality to get more of the resources and better qualified and equipped teachers into the schools that have traditionally struggled.
This is teacher appreciation week. I appreciate teachers year round, but this week specifically I want to share in voicing that appreciation. Whatever your personal views are about the education system, I doubt anyone can say teachers are in it for the glory and to get rich. Even in the best schools, class sizes are often too big, the days to short with kids to fit in everything needed to get through, yet not long enough to accomplish the surrounding work that needs to happen. Sure, many have summers off, or multiple breaks, but often those are filled with supplemental jobs, professional development, or planning for when school resumes. I will just end by saying, thank you to all past, present, and future teachers. May you feel motivated and keep doing good things for our kids.