From May 8-12, 2017, the United States celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week. Many restaurants and businesses offer discounts to teachers on May 9 (National Teacher Appreciation Day) and in some cases these deals are extended through the week. A few very special places make these offers available to teachers all year (a special thanks to Banana Republic and Barnes and Noble, and I’m sure that there are some others too)! This seems fitting because teaching isn’t the sort of job that takes place during assigned days and times. The internet is filled with stories of teachers who go far above the defined expectations of their jobs to listen when students need someone with whom they can speak, to cheer for students on school teams, and to applaud student performers at plays and concerts. It is widely known that the typical teacher spends nearly $500.00 of his/her own money on classroom supplies, with 10% of teachers spending $1000.00 or more. All of these examples make for great “feel good” stories, tugging at readers’ heart strings and reminding us that teachers should be applauded for their efforts and celebrated!
But what about the things that teachers do in order to expand their own content knowledge and pedagogical skills that don’t necessarily lead to a tissue-grabbing story? We need to take some time to acknowledge the ongoing commitment that teachers make to improve their role as instructional practitioners—who take time in the evenings, weekends, and during the summer months to hone their craft without pay or other compensation, and often at their own expense.
At Mayerson Academy, we work each day to provide extraordinary learning experiences so that individuals, teams and organizations can be their best every day. During the 2015-2016 school year, more than 3000 employees at Cincinnati Public Schools took advantage of one or more of these learning opportunities, averaging approximately 28.2 hours of learning time for each user. Additionally, hundreds of teachers from 46 different schools in the region and across the country participated in a variety of learning experiences, enhancing their knowledge and skills in the areas of social emotional learning and literacy instruction. Because teachers have dedicated time to take advantage of these learning opportunities, classrooms are more welcoming and safe, children who struggle to learn to read are showing significant increases in literacy development, and all students are better prepared to take their meaningful place in an ever-changing world.
As Teacher Appreciation Week wraps up, we want to recognize the value that teachers add to children’s lives each day. They see their students as unique learners with individual strengths coming together as a learning community, and not as a collective score on standardized tests. To truly acknowledge this value, teacher appreciation should never end. Teachers are professionals, committed to improving their work each day in order to bring out the best in their students, themselves, and their colleagues. For these reasons, it is important to for us to show our appreciation to teachers every day.