Can We Talk About Teacher Appreciation Week?

Dear Teachers,

Can we talk about Teacher Appreciation Week?

I promise I didn’t miss it. I saw the nine reminders in my children’s take home folders letting me know that in my town and across all of America, it’s Teacher (and Staff) Appreciation Week, and I think it’s great. I’m all for it. I appreciate the teachers.

I see your tired eyes as May approaches and you are destined to review over and over the fundamentals that will be tested on the upcoming standardized test. I notice how slowly you’re walking into the school these days when, in October, you still had a little pep in your step. I understand that the kids are so over school and learning and behaving that they’ve resorted to bringing those annoying spinners into classrooms thus making the already gray hairs growing out of your overworked heads even longer. I see you at lunch duty barely able to keep your eye roll to yourself as yet another kindergartner asks you to open her ketchup.

I get it. It’s May. You’re done, dreaming about sunshine and pools and sleeping in and not having to listen to thirty students talk all at the same time. I don’t blame you. You’ve worked hard this year. I praise you and all that you’ve done for my children, more than you know.

I am grateful to the PTA who have taken this week on like thirsty travelers stranded in the desert searching for water. Thank goodness for those PTA women who speed too fast through the parking lot during drop off so that they can get their freshly baked muffins into the office in time for you to enjoy them. To those PTA moms, I applaud you (but slow the F down in the school parking lot. Please.)

I think it is fantastic that they (I would include myself, but I only pay my PTA dues and don’t volunteer, so I will give credit where credit is due) have procured lunch for the staff every day this week. I love the new yard art and the big signs when you walk into the school announcing that we, at our elementary school, love and appreciate our teachers and staff. Because we do. We appreciate you. I appreciate you.

In fact, I appreciate you so much that I went through my stack of paperwork to see what my role in teacher’s appreciation week is only to find that tomorrow, my child is supposed to bring his teacher(s) a gift from their “favorites” list. No problem.

Until I started adding it up in my head. My son has three main teachers, three P.E. coaches, an art teacher, and a music teacher. Let’s not forget about his principal, assistant principal, nurse, assistant nurse, librarian, counselor, and crossing guard. All of whom are listed. Ok, the crossing guard isn’t listed, but ALL OF THE OTHERS ARE. Thus making me think I am required to bring a gift for each of these fabulous hard working and well deserved people who touch my child on a daily basis. Who I really really appreciate.

That is fourteen people, and that’s just for my son. Subtract two, and that’s how many hard working, wonderful, fabulous, amazing people touch my daughter on a daily basis. The total number of wonderful, fabulous, hardworking, amazing staff members that require a gift from my pocket book tomorrow is: twenty-six.

Twenty-six gifts if I do as instructed by the note left in each of my children’s folder and “please show our teachers and staff some love with a gift of appreciation from their *favorites list.” I don’t really understand the purpose of the * either, but I’m quoting here.

So let’s do some math – because it’s almost STAAR time. Twenty-six people who truly affect and change my children’s lives on a daily basis should receive gifts tomorrow if I adhere to the rules of the note.

Let’s see what’s on their *favorites list: (just realized I left out the cafeteria lady (listed) who’s a doll and has the best smile, so total is now twenty eight because I have two kids and one kid can’t be the one who gives the teacher/staff member a gift because then the other kid looks like a cheap schmuck and we can’t have that.)

The *favorites list includes things like Amazon, Bath & Body Works, and the ever inexpensive Dallas Cowboys. I’m pretty sure there isn’t anything under $10 with the Dallas Cowboys logo on it, so let’s choose $10.00 as a nice round number.

Word problem: If a mother has twenty-eight people who require a gift from their *favorite list, and she spends $10 on each gift, how much does she spend in total?

$280.00

TWO HUNDRED EIGHTY DOLLARS. (plus tax).

Teachers, staff, and crossing guard, I appreciate the hell out of you. I know that your job requires more patience, understanding, continuing education, and overall stamina than I have in me, and I know that I could never do it. You deserve so much more than a $10.00 pencil from the Dallas Cowboys store.

What I want you to give you is higher pay, better benefits (teacher’s health care is ridiculously expensive), more resources so that you do not have to use your own incredibly hard earned money on supplies for your classroom. I want to give you my respect, and my applause for your dedication in changing both of my children’s futures, and my undying gratitude for the sacrifices you make every single day so that my child can have a brighter tomorrow. You are true heroes, their heroes and mine, and there isn’t an Amazon gift card large enough to show our appreciation for you, but I can promise you this:

I will go to the polls on Saturday and every other election day, and I will vote for the officials who lobby against cuts to our public school system. Education and your pension, salaries, etc. will always be a deciding factor when I make my choices.

I do appreciate you, and I promise to choose you and what’s best for your future when I make my selections for the people who make decisions for you because you are paramount in shaping my children’s future, and there is no dollar amount I can offer you to show you how truly grateful I am to you.

Teacher Appreciation

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30 thoughts on “Can We Talk About Teacher Appreciation Week?

    • I don’t know. I don’t think so because the waitstaff requires the tips to live; however, we require the teachers to stay sane, so hmmmm. Maybe I should just send cash. But I don’t have any!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wonder that. Your systems are messed up. I read a thing about wait staff and some of them earn less than $3 an hour!!! Absolutely outrageous!

        I know teachers work damn hard, but isn’t that kind of…their JOB?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Teachers don’t get paid enough but they get a salary with benefits (shitty ones). Waiters often are not offered healthcare coverage and are (last I checked so this may be wrong) 2.13 an hour plus tips. They rely on tips. They even pay taxes based on sales so not tipping a waiter can mean that he actually just paid money to wait on you. It’s something to consider. I should research this more and write about it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • For REAL!? They might get taxed for waiting on you? That’s terrible. No wonder there are so many pleas to tip them. It’s such an atrocious system keeping people enslaved 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • BUT…I can say that as a waiter and a bartender, I made a ton of money. Most people tip and balance out the people who do not. I still think there’s no excuse to leave zero tip.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. A long time ago, when my step son was in school, I don’t recall this ritual. I think it had not yet been invented. I think the best appreciation we can give teachers may be to boot out the politicians who make a point of blaming all problems on them, especially if they mention that they might like to be paid reasonably well for their work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. YES. I love my kids’ teachers. I could not do their jobs for five minutes without losing my mind. But this is excessive. And it feels like pitiful compensation for a job that is one of the most important jobs in the world and one of the most underpaid. I’m right there with you, sister.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Word. This. Girlfriend, you took the words out of my mouth…or rather, you could constructed & put into words what I could not because I’m so overwhelmed at the 500 notices about TAW to actually action-ate (yes, I made that word up but whatev. School’s nearly out & I am so damn done.) Where was I? Oh, thank you. This is as on point as it gets. Stellar.

    Like

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  5. Teachers appreciate a heartfelt note from a parent and child or a drawing from a young child just as much or more than a monetary gift. The bar is set so high by parents themselves, not by teachers. The parents are competing with each other sometimes to get the best gift. Just do what you can and know that teachers don’t expect anything.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Annie, I do not blame the teachers for this. Teachers are amazing and should be praised daily. I think parents and PTA have taken this whole thing way too far. I always buy my teachers an end of year gift with a huge thank you note. When my son was in kindergarten, the favorites list included things like favorite candy, favorite drink. So I could take a box of hot tamales and a Diet Coke to each teacher that week without going broke. My annoyance was in the favorites list this year and the impossibility of actually affording what they wanted me to get. (The parents not the teachers.) I agree 100% that something homemade from the child is the best option in this instance.

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  6. I taught high school for 28 years and never saw anything like this. We were lucky to get some bagels from admin and a pencil from the teachers’ association. When my boys were in elementary school, we never sent anything in either. Must be a district thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am a teacher and I think it is crazy to make a “favorites list.” I think it is great obviously that there is a week to appreciate teachers, but I also think it should be up to the parent whether they want to get the teacher something or not. I would feel so uncomfortable asking for gifts. Honestly, I love when my students draw a picture or make something or just thank me for being their teacher. I would not even know what to put on the list.

    Liked by 1 person

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