maybe it's because i'm a man in a mostly female work environment. maybe it's because i'm a cynic. maybe it's because i'm grumpy. this week is teacher appreciation week. i dread this week every year. why?
the appreciation doled out by our parents and administration is made with the best of intentions. i didn't get into teaching for the accolades or six-figure paychecks. lord knows neither one is coming around anytime soon!
the parents that give their all to show their appreciation during these weeks are the parents whose kids will succeed regardless of who's in the classroom. why? because they care. these parents see schools as only part of the equation in raising their children, not the whole kit and caboodle. these parents know that their kids will never make it in this world if they pass off their parenting responsiblities to a different person each year, realizing the constant of their parenting has far more impact. sure, these kids will always remember their favorite teachers, as i do. the ones that extolled the virtue of raising your voice at injustice (mr. deveney), the ones that connected subject matter to real life (mr. beames), the ones that let you slack off senior year (mrs. goldwyn), or the ones that made learning fun (mrs. harris, mrs. lombard, mrs. lay, mrs. stafford).
the administration? well, it'd be nice if it felt like we were on the same team most of the time. problem is, our new era of principals and their ilk are more concerned with test scores and budgets than getting to know the kids or connecting with their staff. dr. hirsch was the best first principal i could've hoped for. she was old school. encouraging, wise, loving. even when i screwed up, i could count on her to help me out. no child left behind administrations don't care as much unless your kids perform well on the Almighty Test. that's what i'd appreciate. guidance. yeah, i'm five years in, but i never feel that way. there's always much to learn, and aside from a workshop off-site, i never feel like i'm getting the resources i need from my own school. shouldn't that be the way to show your appreciation? to further my professional development by learning from your wisdom, rather than telling me what workshop to go to or what test score to strive for?
keep your recipe books and mary kay gift cards. if i can't glean some knowledge from this place, what incentive to i have to stay?