Are you freaking kidding me.

Are you freak­ing kid­ding me.

I’ll be frank with you guys.  Some­times I was not a very good stu­dent.  Oh, I was clev­er enough, but I fre­quent­ly didn’t pay the most atten­tion and even more fre­quent­ly just straight up ignored work that I didn’t want to do.  Despite the­se fail­ings, I did rel­a­tive­ly well in school.  Nor­mal­ly this is where I’d make a joke about how it was def­i­nite­ly because I’m so freak­ing bril­liant.  But that is decid­ed­ly false.  At best, it’s an incom­plete and over­ly sim­pli­fied expla­na­tion.  The real rea­son, or the lion’s share of the rea­son, was that I had (by and large) excel­lent teach­ers.

For exam­ple, when I start­ed fourth grade, I switched from a pub­lic school where I was basi­cal­ly just coast­ing by to a pri­vate (Catholic) school where I actu­al­ly had to do things like pay atten­tion and turn in home­work.  As you might expect, that was not a grace­ful tran­si­tion for me.  I had one teacher in par­tic­u­lar whose home­work I didn’t do a lot of the time and who gave me deten­tion sev­er­al times because of it.  Need­less to say, she wasn’t my favorite per­son just then.  She taught sci­ence and while I tend to be more of a lan­guage-ori­ent­ed, lib­er­al arts type, sur­pris­ing­ly she made me love what she taught.  I had her for home room the next year and she became one of my all-time favorite teach­ers.

Seriously, honk.

Seri­ous­ly, honk.

Anoth­er exam­ple: my junior year in high school I had a teacher for Eng­lish who expect­ed a lot of us.  And by that I mean she expect­ed us to do home­work and turn it in on time.  Prefer­ably hav­ing fol­lowed her instruc­tions with regard to length and con­tent.  Tor­ture.  Even by eleven­th grade I had not yet mas­tered home­work doing and I didn’t do par­tic­u­lar­ly well in her class because of it.  Nev­er­the­less, the end of the year came and I dis­cov­ered that not only had she real­ly helped my writ­ing skills, her class had changed from a time of day that I had dread­ed to one of the best.

My point is that even kids who do well in school don’t always make their teach­ers’ jobs/lives easy.  And even when the stu­dents do make their teach­ers’ lives easy, teach­ers do a ton of home­work of their own.  It’s com­mon knowl­edge that teach­ers work much longer hours than kids are in school.  And that they pay for a ton of their class­room mate­ri­als out of pock­et with lit­tle or no reim­burse­ment.  (My sis­ter, who teach­es first grade, told me the oth­er day that the total amount she can claim on her tax­es for class­room sup­plies is $250.  I.e. what she spends in about 2 months, max.)

All this is to try and explain to you why Teacher Appre­ci­a­tion Week (May 4th through May 8th this year) is impor­tant to me.  Teach­ers make up a sur­pris­ing­ly high per­cent­age of peo­ple who are per­son­al­ly impor­tant to me, but even if you don’t know any teach­ers in a non-pro­fes­sion­al set­ting, remem­ber that at least one teacher had an impact on your life.  More than like­ly, a bunch of teach­ers spent more time and effort on you than you know.  So if you have the chance, try to show some appre­ci­a­tion this week.  And, real­ly, always.

To all my teachers, thank you.

To all my teach­ers, thank you.

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So, what do you think?