Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Teacher Dad : Teacher Appreciation Week

My last bite from day 2 leftovers! 
The other day our student council decided to get the staff a Chinese food lunch for teacher appreciation week. How awesome is that, right?! The funny thing is that when you get things catered and people have specific lunch schedules things have to be timed correctly. Well, it turned out that the food didn't get to school soon enough, and the teachers with the first lunch period missed out on the food completely. Not a big deal, because the amazing admins, students, and staff made sure to get plates of food to those that missed out.

But the entire issue got me thinking, and I realized that what happened in our building is a good picture of how things work for teachers across the US. Ultimately, what some teachers have available to them depends greatly on where their lunch falls (or where they teach). There are some schools out there with unlimited resources at their disposal, including parent volunteers, booster moneys, P/D funds, and technology devices. While others work in places that require them to spend out of pocket for nearly everything they need in the classrooms. There are schools where parents are begged to help on field trips, and all extra-curricular activities are funded at bare-bones unless they are strictly academically focused (i.e. you won't find a bowling team at these schools). These are the schools where the teachers weren't even offered a lunch!

I happen to work at the school with the best lunch schedule. You name we've got it, and if not.. we can write a quality grant and get it. We are super supported by an amazing community, and everyone around knows it. And, what amazes me is that I run into teachers that don't realize the great lunch schedule we have. "Lunch wasn't warm enough" (class size), "wanted chicken fried rice not pork" (kids not doing homework), "the seats aren't massaging" (teacher pay). And while those are all solid issues in the world of academics, there are teachers in the other lunch that don't even have a microwave to heat up the food brought from home! It is so easy to take things for granted, and educators are no different.

There are days that I wish all teachers would have to teach in a variety of different environments, so that we can all have a taste of what it's like some place else. I've had the privilege of teaching in 3 different schools in two different districts. I've seen a lot of things that have helped me shape my views on public education, and have helped me to appreciate a great thing when I've found it. I see the need to advocate for educational change and equality. But without a common voice, its hard to fight for change. Especially, when we do try and all it sounds like it teachers wanting more money or other negative headlines take over.

So, if you're reading this, and you haven't yet, please contact your kiddo's teachers and thank them for doing what they do. Sure, some of them might not be the best teacher your kiddo could have. You may not even like them. But the truth is, you don't know which lunch they might have at school or in life. And while, a quality teacher can leave all that aside to be the best they can be for the students, some just might need a pick me up that a "thanks, you're appreciated" message could bring to their day. So to my fellow teachers out there fighting the good fight.. I appreciate you!