Well, Teacher Appreciation Week is next week again, that one week where we, as educators, get appreciated and I wanted to get this out this week, so you can be appreciated today and next week…

The funny question might be, how often do we appreciate ourselves? You might ask, “Isn’t that selfish thinking?” I’m not sure, but it seems very hard for others to appreciate you if you do not appreciate yourself. Too often, that seems to be the case. But, nonetheless… as a teacher, we have to appreciate what we do.

So, what does it take for an educator to be appreciated? Numerous studies have been done regarding teacher appreciation, teacher morale, teacher recognition, etc. The literature is full of these topics, and we can’t really add to the literature anymore (sorry future dissertation writers).

Here’s my one-cent answer: Appreciation for teachers should have three major components. One, let teachers teach. Two, it should happen every day of the week instead of one week a year. Three, appreciation should become a habit instead of a forced or obligated “thank-you” so Hallmark can sell cards.

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Appreciation should be a cultural identity of the school, its district, and, most importantly, the community. It should be a reflection of the district’s light that shines so bright that teachers are on the waiting list to teach and they are wearing sunglasses because of it instead of wearing them to hide their faces to conceal that they work there.

Appreciation contains substance and value, not fluff. It’s more than “lip service” and a “box check.” It goes just like anything else in life for people. The more we can show that we appreciate teachers, the more teachers will feel appreciated (duh! moment). When that happens, the paradigm swings in favor of education, and education needs all the help it can get.

Come week after next, the teaching world will wait another year for teacher appreciation to take place. That’s unfortunate. Many communities, districts, and schools get it right, and I am glad I am part of one where all three does that. While at the same time, there are those… you get the idea. No one wants to work at a place where they are not appreciated, but many have to. That’s unfortunate also.

Thank you to all the teachers out there. Thank you for helping our future. As I have said before, “Education is that last one stronghold that we have to help straighten society on the path it should be going.” If we as educators do not, then who will? Find a way next week to appreciate a teacher, better yet, every day; they will appreciate it.

Final thought – Appreciation is in no way a concept that pushes people away from wanting to feel appreciated. Appreciation invites one to come, not drive away. And it all starts and ends with leadership.

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2023 J Clay Norton

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