It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Teachers Touch Our Lives

One of my favorite commercials is set to the Christmas song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, but the commercial runs in August and it shows kids shopping for school supplies with their mom. It gets an A+ in my book for being clever.

Summer is great, don’t get me wrong. There is joy in sunny, relaxed days, family vacations and trips to the swimming pool. But summer also challenges parents to fill their children’s daytime hours with creative fun and healthy pastimes to fight the inevitable “I’m bored” and the ever-alluring TV, or those sibling fights that can erupt after kids are in close proximity with one another too long. Today’s added challenges are those electronic devices that pull our kids in all too easily such as the computer, tablet or smart phone. So when school rolls around each year, though I’m sorry to see summer go, I’m also grateful to know my kids are spending their days in productive ways. And where is that gratitude directed? Why, to the teachers and school staff, of course!

Far from babysitting or entertainment, teachers and school staff are the people who inspire, care for and teach our children, guiding them toward their future while also helping them hone their interpersonal skills. Truly, teachers are often second only to parents in shaping kids’ development and futures.

Remember the book that was wildly crazy some 20 years ago called “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten”? It’s true that school is so important in shaping kids into adults.

For me, many memories of terrific teachers come to mind, filling me with gratitude.

For my boys, fantastic teachers have been ours since preschool. I think of those preschool teachers whose abundant energy, clever crafts and awesome organization skills amazed me, not to mention their bravery in letting a group of little people loose to use glue and glitter! And talk about patience! Teachers possess loads of it.

My boys can think of many outstanding teachers they’ve had as well, and we haven’t even entered the all-important high school years yet. My husband and I both reminisce about truly cool or wonderful teachers, administrators and staff that we’ve had the good fortune of knowing.

In helping at my sons’ school, I met an elementary teacher who purposely chooses to work with struggling readers after she was told as a child that she’d never be a good reader. She developed into an avid reader of her own accord and she wants so much to share the joy that comes from reading and to help each child become a confident reader. That’s passion and commitment! I also heard that our newly retired principal had started as the new principal at a school years ago in his career, a school that needed much TLC. So, in an effort to start the year off on a good foot, he set about painting the interior of the school himself. These are just two examples of many school staff I’ve encountered who are heroes in their own right. School secretaries, janitors, counselors, teaching assistants and lunch ladies deserve our gratitude as well. They each play an important role.

I drive by my boys’ school on evenings or weekends while doing errands and I often see the cars of teachers I know, catching up on grading or preparing new lessons. But are their salaries commensurate with those of CEOs and others who put in long hours? Far from, I’m afraid.

Our teachers and school staff deserve our gratitude.  I’ve always felt strongly that school is not only teaching my boys the subjects they need to know to succeed, it’s also an experience that prepares them for the real world. They’re in a place where they must follow the rules and learn to get along with a variety of personalities and people, all while growing and learning.

Whoever quipped that teachers and pro-athletes in our country should trade salaries is one smart cookie in my book!

Teaching is a noble profession for sure.  Why not start the year by personally thanking your children’s teachers and other school staff? And while you’re at it, ask what you can do to support them in the year ahead. Gratitude will go a long way in fueling their desire to give it their best effort each day.

Now back to school we go!