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?
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.