Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Teacher Appreciation Day

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.


  1. I enjoyed reading this reflection Mary Lee! My favorite line..."small differences, lasting differences" brilliant! well put.

  2. Your post gave me goosebumps. Those moments truly are the ones that make you feel most appreciated. And I still send a Christmas card to my preschool teacher...and have for the last 30 years :)

    Thanks for sharing such great moments!

  3. Just wanted to post and let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog. I get so many little insights and ideas from it. Often it just makes me feel connected to a kindred spirit. Thanks for sharing with us. Hugs

  4. This is a lovely post!

  5. Happy Teacher Appreciation Day.

    Great post.

  6. Very nice. And a good reminder to let our kids' teachers share in their students growth even when they leave the school.

  7. This is a beautiful post. I'm with Jen; I got goosebumps the first time I read it.

  8. Thank You!! You are making a difference! As my wise Grandmother would say "the proof is in the pudding".


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