It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and man, it couldn’t have come at a better time! It’s the end of the year, we have state testing next week, and some of my little darlings have seemingly lost the ability to, shall we say, make wise choices? In the midst of all that, it sure is nice to be treated to yummy meals, sweets, gifts, and notes to keep up the motivation for these final few weeks. We have WONDERFUL parents at our school who show appreciation outside of the official appreciation week, too. I am so grateful for their support all throughout the year.
Back when I was a student, I don’t remember having a Teacher Appreciation Week. I always gave my elementary teachers valentines, Christmas gifts, and an end-of-the-year token of appreciation, but beyond that I don’t remember doing much else. Looking back, I wish I would have told them more often that I appreciated how hard they worked, how much they inspired me, and how they shaped the person I am today. Now that I’m a teacher myself, I have such a deep appreciation for all the ways my teachers went above and beyond and understood teaching to be so much more than “just a job.”
I may never see any of my teachers again, and they may never read this post, but in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I’d like to thank these special people for the impact they made on my life.
Ms. Earl (2nd Grade) – Thank you for letting me read aloud to the class that one time. I was so proud to be a leader in that way and it may have been that very moment when I fell in love with reading forever. To you it may have been a small thing, but I’ll never forget how amazing I felt that day.
Mrs. Cheryl Moxley (4th grade) – Thank you for being the single biggest influence on who I am as a teacher. You made me feel special every time I saw you whether I was 10 or 25 years old. You let me be your teacher’s aide my senior year of high school, which sent me down the career path I’m on today. When I teach about space, I tell my own students about your passion for the planets and how we’d get a lolly if we were the first to report seeing the daytime moon. In your 4th grade class, I remember dipping candles during Gold Rush Days, learning how to sew, and reciting the date in Spanish every day. You showed me how much fun learning can be, and it’s what I strive for in my own classroom.
Ms. Liann McCreery (8th Grade Social Studies) – Thank you for creating a safe haven in my tumultuous middle school years. I felt like an outcast for much of eighth grade, but you opened your door to me (literally, you let me come in during your planning period) and gave me tasks that made me feel important. I can never fully express how much that meant to me.
Mr. Alan Mueller (9th Grade Language Arts) – Mr. Mueller passed away a few years ago, but he was so beloved as a teacher and coach by all who knew him. He was one of the kindest people I ever met, and was one of the first teachers to take my high school relationship with my now-husband seriously. As a teacher, his passion for literature was infectious and I loved coming to his class every day.
Mr. Mike Ross (10th Grade Model United Nations) – Thank you for your smiles, hugs, and sense of humor. You were unbelievably welcoming to your students and treated us like your own children. In my mind, you were like a second father and I am so grateful for your love and kindness.
Mr. Gary Tompkins (Academic Decathlon, A.P. U.S. History) – Thank you for being such a genuine model of ethics and patriotism. You are one of the reasons that I love learning about U.S. history and I’ll never forget your wall of political cartoons. 🙂 I can still picture your smile and your love for life shines through in so many of my memories of you.
Mr. Ryan Shupp (A.P. Lit and Comp) – Thank you for showing us how to work hard and play hard. We dissected some of the world’s greatest books with you, and also had some of the most bizarrely wonderful moments of my high school experience with you (Willie D! “Lit and Comp After Dark” CD!). You weren’t afraid to befriend your students, and it was so fun for all of us to connect with you that way.
Mr. John Arner (Physics and Chemistry) – Thank you for being the living, breathing pinnacle of hands-on learning. Some of my most vivid memories are from your rigorous class projects and hilarious word problems. On top of that, you constantly went above and beyond for your students. Remember the time you let me borrow your car after I totaled mine on black ice?? I also remember walking into your first period physics class on 9/11 and being so grateful for how you helped us process such a frightening tragedy.
What do all of these individuals have in common? I think it boils down to three things: passion for what they taught, the ability to make every student feel special, and unwavering kindness and compassion. I sincerely hope to impact my students the way these teachers impacted me, but clearly I have a lot of live up to!
We all have teachers that made a difference in our lives. To all the teachers of the past, present, and future: THANK YOU!