End-of-the-year thank you to teachers!

At this time of year it is a good time to honour classroom teachers. As I wrote not too long ago, Prime Minister Harper recently honoured them as well. They are dumped on by the public so much of the time for the problems within the system, their accreditation bodies, their union leadership and the various provincial government’s — all situations beyond their control or influence.

What they can influence, however, are the children in their care — in loco parentis — in place of the parents. Like parents, they love children and they want only the best for them. And, yes, in spite of two months vacation every summer, teachers work very hard. For all those who complain that they work just as hard, that may be true. But, that shouldn’t take away from the dedication and commitment most teachers have for their jobs.

And, contrary to popular opinion, most teachers do not have two months off in the summer. Both my husband and I had to complete our university and graduate degrees during that period — all so we would be better teachers.

So, for today, let’s look at what teachers do in the life of our children and grandchildren. Think about it. Children spend most of their day — and young lives — with their peers and their teachers, not with their parents. As a result, the affect those teachers have on their outlook on life is tremendous.

What is nice is that at this time of year, most people put aside all their grievances with the “education system” and think of individual teachers. It is the time, as Moira MacDonald writes, when parents and their children frantically look for just the right thank you card or end-of-the-year gift — a gift that is personal enough to show that the child and his or her parents really do appreciate all the teachers have done during the year.    

One teacher I have been following this year is a high school English teacher. He has his own blog called “The Lamppost.”  Take a visit to his blog. He obviously stretches his students to the max to cover not only current affairs, but the classics — literature and philosophy both. He is an example of how dedicated teachers can be and I know there are many more out there in the blogosphere that I have missed.

To teachers everywhere, thank you. And, if you got another collection of thank you “mugs” this week, just start another shelf. Each one will remind you how important you are in the life of the children you teach.

H/T to Cathy Cove for MacDonald’s column.

1 thought on “End-of-the-year thank you to teachers!

  1. For today, I will promote this discussion as a touchy feely post because I think the majority of teachers deserve it. And, even as a parent of special needs child, I recognize that most teachers are doing their best.

    And, actually sometimes teachers still deserve praise for doing their best with junior level students who can’t read fluently and seem to be falling through the cracks.

    All is not necessarily what it seems. Teachers are not God. They cannot “make” a child learn. They can only set out the conditions for learning to happen. For example, they can teach learning strategies. They can encourage the use of technical devices if they will help. They can team plan with an Instructional Resource Teacher. They can encourage the parents to get after-school tutoring.

    But, I get tired of blaming teachers for everything.

    Even when I was in private practice where it was my job to help those students who actually had or were about to fall through the cracks in the system, I had to explain to parents that we cannot open their child’s head and put skills and information into it. We had to find strategies that the child would buy into using — not so easy but a fact that means the student also has to work very hard.

    And, as I said in my post, good teachers — which I feel are most teachers — have nothing to do with contract negotiations until they have to vote.

    Re contract negotiations — I would be a hypocrite if I said more than that. Both my husband and I are retired teachers and have benefited from contract negotiations over a thirty-two year period. While my pension is a reduced one, because I went on to teach university (always sessional so no pension plan) and be in business with my practice, my husband’s is a full pension and we are very grateful for all that we have.

    The bottom line is that I try to keep this blog neutral, fair and balanced when I look critically at teachers, teaching and the education system — whether they be public, Catholic or independent.

    As a result, I agree with publicly funded parent choice because I believe that kind of choice would be best for everyone involved — because parents and students (and actually teachers as well) could find the right fit.


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