Teacher Appreciation

This month includes teacher appreciation week. Every year I promise myself that starting in April I will get all of my ducks in a row and do something excessively wonderful for all of my children's teachers. And every April looks just like the last where I finish out the month with disheveled hair and wild eyes screaming, "What was THAT??"

I rarely do anything excessively wonderful for my children's teachers but I do appreciate them.

I always tell people that my philosophy on choosing how to educate your children (public, private, or home) is to do it prayerfully and carefully, and be willing to admit at any moment that it is no longer working for your family and change gears.

Thus far, we have been in public schools. Thus far, I still cannot believe how blessed my children have been with teachers and administrators. I do not request or choose teachers for my children, I pray and let the One who knit them and knew them before I did choose my children's teachers for them. He has never failed.

Yes, my children are my responsibility. Beyond my responsibility, they are little pieces of my heart out walking around on this planet. But research tells us that the more adults my children have that take an interest in their lives and have a relationship with my children, the more successful they will be in all areas of life. My children's teachers have not disappointed.

To you, precious people, words are not enough. How do you say 'thank you for being a brush stroke and background lighting for this masterpiece of a human'? How can I tell each of you that your delight in my child's successes fanned into flame a passion that will carry them into adulthood? You have pointed out strengths and pushed them along and kept them from doing 'just enough'.

None of you have let my children blend into the background. You have encouraged and cheered, praised and prodded, expected the best and never accepted the worst.

I have done your job. That is why I am now not doing your job. It is NOT for the faint of heart (or weary of foot). It is for people with tender hearts, thick skin, and a million hugging arms. It is for people with cast iron stomachs, bladders of elastic, and Solomon's wisdom.

I know that by this time of year you don't want to be appreciated by any way other than a day away from these people and you wonder if you would actually come back. But for some crazy reason, back you come. Sometimes you wonder if it's just your car coming out of habit.

Even at middle school level, you wouldn't believe how much I hear about you and how you touch my child's life and shape their values by what you find funny, the way you treat other students, and even the music played in your class; how your sad days will make my tender-hearted child's heart ache until you are smiling again.

You live in my neighborhood, worship at our church, exercise at my gym, shop at my grocery store. We see you and feel like a part of your life. You are a beloved part of my family, but not the crazy faction that we try to abstain from visiting. And I am part of yours -- if for no other reason than the fact that you have given your all to my children and there is little of you left by the end of the day. Thank you, and thank your family for us, too.

I can't say thank you enough or adequately. But I do thank you, and pray frequently for you. This time of year, my prayer is "strength for the journey". May you truly have strength for your journey, and countless blessings in your life for the blessing you are in mine.

I thank my God every time I remember you. Philippians 1:3

(check out this post for some PRAY-shus teacher gift ideas that I won't be doing)


Tiffany said...

Tears are in my eyes now....thank you. It has been a pleasure and a privilage to love on your kiddo... I am sad that I won't be around for Stirman #2!

Roxanne said...

I think a printed out copy of this will do just fine. . .and your description of April cracked me up.

dad said...

This is most likely your most profound piece yet - and that's saying a lot. "little pieces of my heart out walking around on this planet" - that's the REAL THING.
Good work.

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