Teacher Appreciation Day is when the high schooler whose youngest brother is in fourth grade comes back and chats with me during bus duty, breathlessly telling me that he is going to be a photojournalist, that he has "grown a brain" since I had him in fourth and fifth grades, that he only shaves for dances and other special occasions.
Teacher Appreciation Day is sitting down in the teachers' lounge with a first grade teacher who was in my fourth grade class.
Teacher Appreciation Day is seeing a student make her idea come to being: a play she wrote based on the book HACHIKO WAITS being practiced on the stage in preparation for performance for the whole grade level.
Teacher Appreciation Day is an email from a former parent who still checks my (pathetically maintained) classroom website to see what's going on in fourth grade and who writes with periodic book chat and recommendations.
Teacher Appreciation is a Minnie Mouse watch in the mail from a family whose children I had 19 and 13 years ago. They long ago moved many states away, but we have continued to exchange Christmas cards all these years. The watch was a "gift of time" in recognition of my 10 year celebration.
Teacher Appreciation is hearing from our school librarian about her daughter, who was in my 5th grade class, now a voracious reader that had to be teased and tickled along back then, who is graduating from college and entering the Peace Corps this fall.
Teacher Appreciation doesn't just happen on a certain designated day in May. It's all the little things that let me know that what I have done with my life for the past 20+ years has made a difference -- small differences in the moment, and lasting differences that have changed lives.