A DeKalb teacher sent me this note, which I thought was worth sharing here:
I am an occasional commenter on your blog “Get Schooled,” but a frequent reader. Many, many parents and teachers I know follow it as well. Since I teach in DeKalb, you realize how I cannot use my real name…I sure wish that could change. I’m counting down the number of teaching days I have left until I can escape. The decline in morale is crushing and this has been a crushing week. I’m not sure how you select what letters you print, but I wrote this up after waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to sleep.
There is a lot of griping and hand wringing by parents and teachers alike on this blog, as well as an ample supply of teacher bashing. However, the suggestions of constructive positive actions to be taken are few and far between. It’s no secret that teacher morale is low and, in DeKalb, keeps getting lower with every news cycle.
If there was a way to impact the work environment where your children go to school, for your kids’ teachers, would you be on board?
Teacher appreciation week is in May, but teachers can sure use a boost at other times, like now. Many teachers have a file for special notes from parents or students, and they keep it for those days where it’s so bad they just want to throw in the towel. They can go to that folder and read some notes and recall memories that remind them that yes, they are making a difference. I have such a file in my middle school file cabinet, and I sure wish it were thicker!
The small act of reading these notes feeds me, energizes me, and keeps me going. The energy may not last, but it carries me through the moment, and many of us could use to be energized right now.
Yes, Valentines Day is coming, and we will get all kids of chocolates….thank you, but half of us are on diets…save your money and do something infinitely better.
At any job, when you really bust it to get the job done, sacrifice family time, and finish with flying colors, wouldn’t you want to be acknowledged? Trust me – teachers don’t get “attaboys” in the year end review when everyone gets the same “satisfactory” or “adequate” review. When was the last time you wrote a note to let a teacher know what they meant in your child’s life, college, or career?
Did the school year end, and you thought about that teacher again? Are there teachers you really hope keep teaching in your school, so that the younger siblings can be in their class?
If your kid has ever had a memorable teacher or an outstanding year in school, even if it was five years ago, pick up a pen and write it. (Email will do, too, but real paper notes are so unexpected, so shocking, so personal.) We do remember your child. Next week (in DeKalb) is the deadline for teachers to submit paperwork asking to transfer schools. Your note might make the difference between a signed contract and walking away.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog