We are having a great Teacher Appreciation Week here at Teaching Channel. We are giving away prizes all week long, and our office is reminiscing about our favorite teachers. This week is filled with inspiration, fun, and humor. But one week is simply inadequate to express appropriate appreciation to the great teachers I’ve known, worked with, watched, and been taught by. One of the teachers in our new Teachers Are… video puts it this way, “Teachers want to make a difference.” And we have to do everything in our power to support their important work because they do make a difference.
I often tell people about my kindergarten teacher, Ms. Warden, a teacher who created a magical environment in her classroom. To this day, I still remember a class project where she got giant refrigerator boxes and had us recreate our town. Years later, when I was about 50 years old, I got some award and out of the blue I received a note from her. I hadn’t seen her in 40 years, so she must have been in her 70s. In her note she congratulated me and told me that I was a very imaginative child. I cried when I read that; it meant so much to me. I felt like a million bucks, and I got a new spring in my step all because Ms. Warden remembered me fondly. I am so grateful to her! And because of her words, I now attribute every slightly imaginative thing I have ever done to her and the imaginative games we played in her classroom.
The story of Ms. Warden represents the very best of what teachers do: they lift up humans. They enable children to be better than they were before they entered the classroom. They give them skills and experiences that provide them with the keys to a successful life. What kind of work is more important? One week is clearly not enough: we need to appreciate the role that teachers play every day.
So, from all of us at Teaching Channel to all of you: Thank you for the important work you are doing with kids and for helping to shape the adults they will become. That’s the reason why we do this, for the kids. You instill confidence in the souls of countless young people. I hope you take the time to savor this week’s appreciation, but please know that our appreciation is not limited to one week. It continues throughout the year.
Pat Wasley is the Chief Executive Officer for Teaching Channel. Pat began her education career as a public school teacher in the U.S. and in Australia. She has been a public school administrator, a researcher, a university professor, and a dean of both the Bank Street Graduate School of Education and the University of Washington College of Education.