It was Teacher Appreciation Week this past week at school. Each day had a theme... write a note, send flowers, bring a special treat, give a gift card. The kids were so excited to present their items to me each morning, and it was heart-warming to see my desk fill up with homemade cards and huge bouquets of flowers. One morning a little friend surprised me with a fresh bagel and cream cheese for breakfast. Another student brought me an entire (!) chocolate cake! How she carried that thing on the bus I'll never know, but the entire first grade team was happy to help me eat it!

Having a child in the same school means I get Teacher Appreciation Week from both sides. I have to give as good as I get, right? And from the parent perspective, I can see how it can be a bit stressful. I had to remember to send the right item in on the correct day. It took multiple trips to the store to get everything because I kept forgetting what all the requirements were. And we had three teachers to take care of (never want to leave out the speech teacher!)

But speaking as the teacher, let me tell you. If you have a chance to tell your child's teacher how awesome them are, do it! Teaching is one of those strange professions where we mother other people's children for more hours in the day than they do, and yet we hardly ever get the feedback we need. Oh sure, we hear about it when things aren't going right. But it's almost as though a "no news is good news" policy seems to prevail. And it's not like I need these kids and families to like me, but it sure would be nice to hear that they do. Teachers pour out so much of who they are onto their students, and we do it for the awesome bonus structure because we love it and we know we are doing something important and world changing. (You can fill in the blank here about how we do it for longer hours, higher expectations and less pay every year that goes by.)

This year, I thanked my daughter's teachers for taking care of her, mothering her, and standing in the gaps when I cannot be there. I know they are handling the academic stuff because they are stellar professionals. But I really wanted them to know that it's the other stuff, the models of kindness, the lessons on how to be a good friend and examples of teamwork... that's what I am grateful for this year.

And then I slapped a gift card onto that thank you note like it was nobody's business!

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