The end of the year—and Teacher Appreciation Week—is here. Reflect on your work—why do you love it? What are your personal rewards? Please share your favorite story, one that gives you a warm fuzzy and reminds you why you love your job.
Bonus question: How many years have you been teaching?
This week has been wonderful! I feel so appreciated. Spa treatments, show tickets and luncheons while pink slips are being written. It isn't the gifts nor the lack of job security but my students who inspire me every day.
It is the smiles that greets me each morning because my students are happy to be in my care, it is the "light bulb" going on when a student understands my lesson, and it is the simple "thank you" from a parent who recognizes I have gone out of my way to help their child.
I love my job!
My warm fuzzies are all stored in a notebook that I look at when I'm feeling down. It is a collection of notes, cards, and pictures from students, parents, and even other educators that I have placed there over the years. It is my "real portfolio," and it reminds me, even at my lowest moments, why I love my job. I could never part with my notebook.
As an educator on hiatus, a mother of three, and a PTA President it is wonderful to hear that Teacher Appreciation Week still creates the same warm fuzzies that I experienced when I was a teacher. Being on the other side of the coin I would love to hear more about what worked during Teacher Appreciation Week, because we are always looking for ideas to celebrate our teachers. Also, I love the previously posted idea of the “real portfolio” and plan on utilizing that for notes, cards, and words of encouragement from previous student and the students to come.
I have captured quotes from similar discussion questions to preserve and share what members have find most rewarding about their years in teaching:
Please continue to share your favorite personal stories with us in this discussion. Why do you enjoy being a teacher? What are the rewards?
Bonus Question: Tell us how long you have been teaching.
In reference to "Teacher Appreciation Week," several members have responded with ways to make this week more memorable.
Kingston Blessing writes, "There are several concepts that I have done over the last 40 years, but what I like to do is 'spread the wealth!' What I mean by that is I have my students pick their favorite teacher and communicate with them in the form of a letter. But I have learned something new! It is a Voki. So for my 7th grade computer students their assignment is to create a Voki in www.Voki.com and send it to the teacher they most appreciated over the years and also to me for a grade."
Karen Horn says, "Teachers are too often never mentioned on the 'appreciation list,' but if a little bird could put a message in the PTA President's ear, this is a good way to get community backing and awarenss of the hard work teachers do on a daily basis. Some of the nice things that I have witnessed throughout the country include a luncheon given by someone in the community (could be a bank, a person who is interested in education and financially solvent,) and the top ten students in a high school then select their favorite teacher who is honored at that luncheon. Other ways in which teachers have been honored in places where I have taught are department votes (best English teacher in the department.) Also, at graduation, asking the graduating seniors to write notes to those teachers K-12 who have had the greatest influence on them in their K-12 education. And certainly, the traditional 'Teacher of the Year' awards that most schools engage in are ways to say thank you."
"I enjoy being a teacher because I like helping my students become better learners and more independent readers. I found using my students' interests, learning styles, and abilities helpful especially when working with reluctant readers and writers. The rewards are hearing from former students by letter or in person."
I consider myself a lifelong learner so I enjoy teaching because I always learn something new from my students. My favorite moment is watching a student suddenly understand something for the first time. That teachable moment is most rewarding!
Although I retired from teaching high school English 4 years ago, I have continued to teach at technology workshops and conferences. In addition, I am an online instructor for several courses offered through the Virginia Department of Education.
As an educator, I am following a family tradition. One aunt taught English, another aunt taught math, and my uncle was a high school principal. In fact, my uncle presented graduation diplomas to my sister, his son, and me. Now my older daughter is a college professor so the tradition continues.
My family always valued an education and taught me to respect teachers because I could learn much from them. I enjoyed my professional teaching career of 35 years and plan to continue working in the education field many more years.
My parents were always music teachers when I was growing up. I think part of the reason I enjoy teaching is I am also following a family tradition. I also enjoy working with students whether they are children or adults and having them notice they've improved their spelling, reading, and/or writing. As their learning improved they gained more confidence. I have a former student who moved away and she writes me letters and cards.
I also enjoy talking to colleagues and mentors and have learned from them to be flexible.
I have been teaching 7 years.
A few years ago I stood up for a student who was being picked on by another student in my class. The bully was calling him "gay" and "***." I made a REALLY big deal about it and kicked the student out of my class and told my AP that I didn't want him back in my math class for at least 4 days. He kept him in the office to work during my class. My brother is gay and I told the class how offensive that was to me and any put-downs are not accepted at any time.
Life went on... the bully returned to my class later that week and never said anything to the other student again. I forgot about the incident and both boys simply ignored each other after that.
Well, at the end of the year, the victim's mother pulled me aside after 8th grade continuation. She told me that her son came home and explained how a teacher stood up for him that day and he was so happy. He said that he has never had a teacher stand up for him like that and it really made him feel good and that people care. He told his mom that I gave him confidence to stand up for himself. She was almost crying when she told me... it made me feel good that I didn't allow that to happen in my classroom.
To this day, this student still sends me emails about how he is doing in school and he even received a math award his senior year.
I love being a teacher and able to inspire students to be better people and mathematicians!
It's amazing the "little" things teachers do that make a "big" difference in the lives of students. I often remind students that school is a microcosm of the "real' world, and valuable life lessons are taught in the classroom that go beyond the curriculum content.
Thanks for sharing your story and reminding your students that bullying is unacceptable. I think it's important to teach students that all people have a right to make their own life choices. Others don't have to agree with those choices, but they must be tolerant and respectful.
It's always uplifting when students let teachers know the positive influence or significant impact teachers had in their lives! Those small victories make teaching very gratifying!