13 Reasons Why Teachers Are Appreciated | By: Kim Gulbrandson May 9th is National Teacher Appreciation Day, a time to show our thanks to teachers for all they do. In honor of this day and of teachers in general, I asked others about why they value teachers. I interviewed children, parents and grandparents, including Joan Duffell, Executive Director of Committee for Children, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering the safety and well-being of children through social-emotional learning and development. Of course, I added in my thoughts too. In total, 13 of us share why we appreciate teachers, and we mean every last word! The Students Audrey – age 10, 5th grade: Thank you for all that you do. You have opened adults into what they are now. You are teaching kids how to react to life. Keegan – age 8, grade 3: Teachers help us learn math. They take us on field trips. We had a field trip to a dairy farm. It was fun. Colby – age 14, grade 8: Thank you, teachers for spending time with us and helping us get an education. Thanks for working with me after school every time I need it. Thanks for taking me on the best field trip ever, to show us what our futures could be at the college. Sienna – age 10, 5th grade: Teachers are nice and kind. They help us do stuff that is fun and let us ask questions if we need help. They give us recess and teach us hard things. They have fun with us. Kylie – age 13, 7th grade: Thanks for taking time out of your day to help us learn and teach us things we don’t know. When something is wrong, you understand what we are going through. Thank you for pushing us hard so we can succeed. The Parents Eric – father of two children: Thank you for making sure kids have what they need at school and at home, like checking in to see if they need extra time at lunch and making sure they get breakfast. I wish you all got paid more. Heidi – mother of two children: Thanks, teachers, for doing something every day with a classroom full of students that is hard to do with even one child at home. You have patience, and great skill. Molly – mother of two children: I am always very impressed with teacher’s knowledge, but the secondary part of teaching is the true love, warmth and personal attention that teachers are able to give to the children they are teaching. They have real affection and ability to connect to the children in their lives, and passion that connects children to learning. Chuck – father of two children: Thanks for all the time you put into working with our kids, for recognizing that each one is unique, and for being flexible by teaching each one differently according to their needs. It takes a special person to be a teacher. The Grandparents Tom – parent and grandfather: Your efforts and patience bring out the best of children’s young minds. Barb – parent and grandmother: Thank you for always listening to children’s concerns and questions. You help them to care and get excited about learning. Joan – Executive Director, Committee for Children, parent, and grandparent: Teachers are the true heroes of the SEL field. Those of us who conduct research, develop and support social-emotional learning programs know that our work is but a small fraction of the job. Teachers play the leading role when they model, practice, and creatively deliver SEL lessons to their students. Engaging kids in social-emotional learning; keeping them interested and excited about learning important life skills; cueing and coaching them to use their empathy, self-management, and problem solving skills every day when those “teachable moments” arise—this is heroic and life-changing work. We at Committee for Children/Second Step salute you: the teachers who breathe life into social-emotional lessons each and every day Me Kim – School Psychologist: As an advocate for teachers, I regularly get to see the impact of your work, such as when I recently attended a school play and saw two hours-worth of smiling faces and excitement from the many actors, stage crew and parents. At the end, the students presented their teachers with flowers and thanked them for the countless hours of after school time they gave to make the play possible. While it is hard to summarize all the many things you are appreciated for, we hope you know how important you are to children and adults alike, and how you have helped us to be the best selves we can be. As the many voices indicate, your impact is extensive and extends beyond the traditional realm of academics. Your actions of listening, recognizing strengths, showing empathy respect for others, and all the other social emotional skills you model and instill in children prepares them for a lifetime of success. The world is a better place with you in it. Thanks for all you do, today and every day.