The Teacher Appreciation Teacher’s Deserve

by | May 5, 2019

Teacher Appreciation Week

Once again it is Teacher Appreciation Week – a week of recognition and celebration, all geared toward letting educators know how thankful we are for all they do.

Undoubtedly there will be discounts and specials from businesses, luncheons or snacks in the teachers’ lounge, and maybe even some little gifts from students or administration. It’s all very thoughtful and kind, but there is a veiled subtext and a larger issue at hand.

#TeacherAppreciationWeek is a nice gesture, it feels good, but teachers need & DESERVE more. Click To Tweet

 What Teacher Appreciation Week Really Says about Teaching

Teacher Appreciation Week is society’s acknowledgment of teachers’ hard work and sacrifice. It is a way for businesses, parents, and administration to give back and say thank you.

However, there are many hardworking careers that don’t receive the pomp and circumstance of an appreciation week – doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers… Why aren’t they receiving an extra 10% off at the mall or a free burrito with their lunch?

The truth of the matter is that Teacher Appreciation Week is a universal recognition of poor working conditions and lack of teacher funding and support.

Other professions don’t celebrate big appreciation weeks because our perception of these careers is that they are already respected, compensated, and supported. We hold them in high esteem and honestly, giving them a free side of fries for one week to show our appreciation would be seen as a bit of an insult.

#TeacherAppreciationWeek is like getting flowers after an argument, it’s a nice gesture and a reminder that things aren’t right. Click To Tweet

Teacher Appreciation Week Reimagined

Let’s reimagine what Teacher Appreciation is. Yes, let’s continue to shower educators with all the goodies, freebies, and extras we can muster, but let’s go even further.

From this day forward Teacher Appreciation Week will serve as a reminder of the conditions that educators endure and the lack of respect, recognition, compensation, and status that we afford so many other careers – careers which depend on teachers to inspire future professionals.

Teacher Appreciation Week will no longer be fluffy and feel-good – but instead a real acknowledgment of WHY we need a week to remind us to appreciate teachers.

Give Them What They Deserve

Here at Joy in Teaching I tend not to get political, nor do I get too much into ideas of entitlement. After all, no one is really owed anything in life. In so many ways we are lucky to be able to have these conversations and debates about education.

With that said, if anyone deserves more – it is educators (and really, all caretakers). 

  • Give them more RESPECT
  • GIVE them more FUNDING
  • GIVE them more SUPPORT
  • GIVE them more TIME

Here’s How to Show Up

When conversations about teachers take a turn toward the disrespectful – stand up for the teachers.

When you see or hear of a bill that is slashing education/educator funding –contact your legislation. Click here

When your local school asks for support – volunteer your time and/or money.

When your schools don’t ask for support – seek out ways to support them. (check out DonorsChoose.org)

Share this article to continue this conversation about what Teacher Appreciation Week does and can mean.

From a Teacher’s Perspective

As a teacher, I appreciate the attention of the week-long celebration, but I also cringe at its necessity. 

As an advocate for teacher resilience, I encourage all educators to take this week as an opportunity to soak in the gratitude and perhaps treat yourself. 

No, a free fro-yo isn’t going to make your late-night grading sessions go faster.

Those discounted pants at the mall won’t help fund your field trip.

And, the free coffee (with purchase of course) can’t minimize your overcrowded classroom.

But they can, for a brief moment give you a boost. And honestly, who couldn’t use a boost this time of year?

For more on teacher resilience and retention check out the Joy in Teaching Books and Courses

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