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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