We are just over halfway through our August promotion for teachers during Back to School month, which means the time is drawing so close to when these amazing educators begin to welcome students back into their classrooms (if they haven't already)! We wanted to take a few moments to reflect on teachers we had and consider the amazing people who have chosen to be educators today.
Think back to a teacher you had who had a profound impact on you. Was it a kindergarten teacher or a fourth grade teacher or a teacher you had during those awkward middle school years? Maybe it was a high school teacher that came alongside you when you were trying to figure out what you were going to do with the rest of your life (no pressure). Perhaps it was a college professor who saw something in you that you did not see in yourself. For the vast majority of us, the impact was not necessarily because of the subject content that this teacher delivered, though that mattered. It may have been in part because of the teacher’s passion but it was more likely because that teacher made you feel valued and accepted and like your life mattered for something. That educator quite possibly changed the trajectory of your life. Think about that for a moment. Think about it - and be so thankful.
Today’s teachers are doing the same things. They are loving students, calling out their potential, and teaching them discipline along with reading, math, social studies, and science. They are balancing a hundred things all at once, trying desperately not to drop any of the balls in the air. The job of a teacher is tough because our teachers do not stop at teaching kids the basic math facts, especially not today. They are caring for students struggling with trauma at home, bullying at school, increased mental health issues and decreased personal connections. They are teaching kids how to balance technology, work collaboratively with classmates, make healthy choices, and be kind to themselves and others. Their workload has grown and they need to fit more in the same amount of time.
The impact of a single teacher can be greater than any single person on Earth. They see students for their potential, not for their current behavior. They give off their love of learning and joy for life in the way they speak and act, and this is transmitted to the kids. They understand that sometimes the kids who are the hardest to love are the very kids who need it the most.
Many teachers are excited to get back to the school in the fall. This seems foreign to many of us. Wouldn’t they want to prolong their vacation? Don’t the students completely exhaust them? Could they seriously be excited to enter a classroom with 25 students with 25 personalities and 25 learning styles and 25 other things they are dealing with? That answer, surprisingly for those of us who cannot imagine serving well in that profession, is yes for many educators. And for that, we are so grateful.
Teachers, we know you deserve so much more than a 20% off coupon, but we hope this small token is a reminder to you that you are valued and important and loved. We think you are amazing, we celebrate you today, and we thank you! We hope this next year of teaching is your best yet and that you realize every day the impact you make on the students around you.
And for the rest of us, if that teacher who made an impact is still around, take a moment to let them know – a phone call, a card, an email. You will make their day – guaranteed.
Heather Schmidt and Jodie Schmidt.