Education is not a thankless job. A special day has been designated as “Teacher Appreciation Day.” With our own calendar event, it’s worth asking, “What do students (and parents) appreciate in teachers? What merits appreciation?”
I’ve read some comments of students and thought about my favorite teachers. For starters, students appreciate teachers who…
Teachers are trained to lead. Wise teachers recognize their power to mold the thinking of their students. They find a way to keep their classroom from being a place to push their own agenda, and they affirm wholesome values in others. They challenge their students to evaluate their positions fairly; then they empower those students to live out their values in real life.
Love the Subject
Even those students who could win an Olympic medal in scholastic avoidance appreciate a teacher who understands the nuances of the subject area. Who hasn’t fallen under the spell of a teacher who found his own subject area so engaging that he couldn’t help connecting every student-led attempt to get the lesson off track back to math…or literature…or finance?
Teach Till They Learn
By middle school, and arguably earlier, students recognize that learning comes easier to some kids than others. Students appreciate that teachers who can patiently come alongside the slow learner and at the same time facilitate genius. There are those teachers who make sure the lesson has something for the kinesthetic learner, the verbal learner, and that quiet introspective one. This teacher models hard work, commitment, and creativity through the mundane of the daily.
See the Potential
The distinguishing act that immortalizes teachers in the heart of a student is that ability to see the individual. Students and teachers alike spend a lot of time filling in circles, clicking boxes, and entering passwords. It’s easy to feel less than human. Students remember that teacher who made eye contact and then stopped to inspire the skilled hands, the quick mind, or the never-give-up heart.
This week, we haven’t celebrated “school appreciation” or “education appreciation.” We’ve celebrated teachers–the people who faithfully affirm, empower, and come alongside. Let’s remember who breathed life into us and aspire to use our position for the good of others.