Teacher Appreciation

Today was Teacher Appreciation Day in our district.

I know how other districts and buildings handle Teacher Appreciation Day, and sometimes I get a bit jealous. I see the work my sisters put into their PTSA projects for this day, and sometimes wish our building showed appreciation for us with bigger gestures than a lunch. Which was delicious–I don’t mean to sound ungrateful.

At the end of 6th hour today, my student aide said to me as he walked out, “You know, Ms. Rowse, I think I want to be an English teacher.”

“Are you sure?” I asked, thinking of the endless stacks of papers, the tests, the politics, and the salary.

“Well, why not? It looks like fun. I’ve just been really lucky to have great English teachers all through high school.”

It looks like fun.

Clearly, I am doing my job well (as are my colleagues in the other grade levels) if a teenage boy, quite gifted with computer programming, has teaching English even on his radar of career choices. If I’m making it look fun enough for a student to want to do what I do, then the papers, the tests, the politics, and the salary suddenly don’t seem to matter as much.

I ended my Teacher Appreciation Day talking with an AP student about how she might get back her writing mojo. She admitted to being distracted as of late, and I told her I wasn’t worried. Her swing will come back. She just has to keep trying.

Sometimes amid all the media hullabaloo, I forget about the power of the intangible benefits of my profession. I forget because those fickle teenagers aren’t always adept at showing appreciation. But today, I felt appreciated, and not because one or two kids said, “I appreciate you!” But I felt appreciated because one student thinks my job is cool enough to do himself, and another student trusts me enough to help her.

Those are some pretty big gestures, don’t ya think?

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