Thank you. It’s something you may say and hear multiple times casually throughout the day. Holding a door open for a fellow shopper… “Thank you.” Receiving your vanilla latte at the crowded café… “Thank you.” Just recently, I found myself scanning my nieces’ school fundraiser catalog (I quickly flipped to the magazine section at the back, avoiding the more popular and tempting chocolates and cookies!), so I had an excuse to hear those precious voices say, “Thank you, Aunt Jeni.”
But are we stopping to meaningfully acknowledge others? I don’t know about you, but I didn’t go into teaching for the “thank yous” and “good jobs.” However, receiving positive affirmation of my dedicated work ignited the desire to make a difference all the more. If a small gesture of gratitude made a difference in me, why not pay it forward too!
I began to reach out to my colleagues and simply show thanks for the day-in, day-out dedication. Showing gratitude feels more meaningful than a blanket “thank you.” Teachers are some of the most dedicated, hard-working, give-it-110% people I know. I have worked alongside and learned from some amazing teachers. There are many ways to show appreciation; no gesture of thanks should be seen as too small! We used to have a wall that was filled with forms anyone could fill out to thank another person in the building. We used the phrase “you filled my bucket by_______.” The wall would fill up with simple, heartfelt thank you notes written by students and staff. Looking at the wall, you couldn’t help but smile! If you’re not familiar with the bucket filling concept, check out the book Have You Filled A Bucket Today?, by Carol McCloud. This concept really showed me how the small acts of kindness really add up and make a big difference throughout the day. A thank you post-it secretly placed on a teacher’s desk, thanking him for the extra hours put in planning a field trip. An email of gratitude for sharing new teaching strategies. A coffee treat after a long week of testing. It doesn’t take much to show someone you notice the impact of his/her dedication.
The first week in May is officially teacher appreciation week. If you’re feeling crafty and wondering how to thank a teacher near you, here are some cute ideas. But, honestly, why not extend teacher appreciation beyond just one week in May? Let’s appreciate, encourage, and thank daily. It might just be the small gesture a colleague needs to reignite the desire to make a difference today. And to all the teachers reading this… I hope you are hearing just how wonderful you are! Your work is important; you are valued! Thank you!
** Do you know a teacher who goes above and beyond? Why not give some thanks right now? Here is your chance to give public recognition to an amazing teacher in your community. Comment below and thank a special educator today! **