Appreciated

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Oddly, Teacher Appreciation Day and Teacher Appreciation Week fell a week apart on the calendar this year. The benefit was that we were well-fed repeatedly throughout, so that’s a plus.

While the administration and Parent Guild showered us with treats and goodies, students were pointedly reminded to show their affection as well, targeting Thursday as their day.

It was an interesting week to do this since it coincided with it being the final day the Class of 2023 would attend as students. Thursday was their final day of classes, and they will intermittently be in this week for their finals. Their graduation is next Wednesday, and suddenly they’ll be honored alumni.

The cadre of high-performing, creative, and funny kids set this group apart from several classes before and after them. I had them as freshmen, and we navigated what it meant to deal with Covid-19, isolating in March and only dealing with one another asynchronously. It was weird, but most adapted fine. During that first year, several too to coming in to the my classroom after school to socialize or work.

The following year, we were in hybrid mode, but they still came to chill. And junior year the number of regulars swelled as transfers joined the pack. It changed the dynamic as they got louder and more bluntly honest about things I don’t think they realize should probably not be discussed within earshot of an adult. It did give me insight into the teenage mind and let me get to know several of them in more meaningful ways.

This year the pattern continued and my room was known for being packed and busy—and loud. Freshmen and sophomores began to stick around, carving out their own spaces (they have also started coming in before classes, when things are far quieter). As the seniors’ time began to dwindle, they realized something special was drawing to a close.

I bought a ton of cookies and brownies and designated last Tuesday as a seniors-only party. Not everyone was there (teen drama and sports schedules saw to that) but we took a good group picture to memorialize the moment. In turn, they scrawled notes on my white board and delivered a signed poster, which will hang in the classroom.

Two seniors, including one I never taught, gave m thank you cards. One noted, “My family loves your attitude and thanks you, too.” The other said, “…I can tell that you are a wonderful teacher and an integral part of this school. Your kindness and compassion you show towards us is very special.”

One junior wrote me a heartfelt note Friday night, concluding with “…I’m so glad I could always come to your room when I didn’t know where else to go. Your room is a safe haven for so many of us, and I know I’m not the only one who greatly appreciates you for providing it. Please keep doing what you’re doing, even when kids talk over you. Because i promise that there’s one kid in that room who’s listening, and who cares.”

These notes and the handful of others I received are far more meaningful than a continental breakfast or gift card. I wish the kids would learn that.

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One thought on “Appreciated

  1. How cute that they even have a nickname for you! And what a compliment that they felt comfortable enough with you to let down their guards and be their teenage selves in their candid moments before/after class. How valuable, and what a gift, both ways.

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