MY FIRST WINTER in Alaska was spent in a town with a population of under 900 people. Out of necessity for my sanity and my financial stability I secured a job at the town school as a teacher’s aide. I had attempted to obtain a degree in elementary education for a portion of my college education and I also enjoyed working with children and had some experience. My education and experience did not prepare me for the fact that jobs of providing care and education for children are thankless and demanding!
Understandably, parents wanted the best for their children but many of the parents thought they could insure this by micromanaging the staff providing the education and, in a town with winter unemployment over 20%, they had the time to do so. This factor alone coupled with very few tokens of thanks dissuaded me from pursuing a career in education. There was one father that did convey his gratefulness and quite regularly. I remember how fantastic the feelings were that these thoughts of appreciation invoked in me! I also made a promise to myself that when I became a father I would show my thanks to those assisting in the growth of my children as often as I could.
My partner and I prioritize and actively thank the lead and support teachers in our son’s classroom in many different ways.
Looking back on my childhood I had some teachers that I would have considered my favorites. I now know that my parents recognized this and would go out of the way to show their thanks and appreciation in meaningful ways. I hope that this lesson I learned is successfully transferred to our sons with our varied approaches of showing our appreciation to their teachers.