By Susan Jerrell, TOFT Founder
You think that no one understands the work you put in and how much of your heart you leave in the classroom each day. But, I want you to know, I see you. I know you. I get you. I appreciate you. You are doing an amazing job.
Teacher, I see you
When you get to school at the crack of dawn to have some quiet time to prepare lessons, grade papers or make copies, you are noticed.
Long after 3:30, when you sit in meetings, help a colleague or tutor a student I see you. While you wait for parents to show up an hour after practice is over, or you line the soccer field, or you wait to turn out the gym lights for the player who wants to hit a couple hundred more free throws, I see you.
When you are gassing up the mini bus that you drive so your team can practice at a different facility someone notices. During those hours you plan projects, field trips, class parties, drills and sports plays, I see you.
While you are sewing costumes for the drama play, arranging chemicals for labs, grocery shopping for your food class, I notice. You give up time away from your own family to serve the children of others; I see it.
Teacher, I know you
You think no one knows what it is like, but I know you.
You sometimes close your classroom door and cry after hearing a sad story from one of your students. I know the depth of despair you feel as you hold a hurting child or attend a funeral of one who died too young.
You spend your own money to make sure your students have a snack, coats, shoes and socks. When a child doesn’t have money for a field trip, can’t buy a book at the book fair or needs a new backpack, I know you quietly make it happen.
Being sick doesn’t feel like an option because there are little people who need you. I know that being absent is more work than dragging your tired, sick body to school.
I know you give up your own planning time when a colleague has a question or needs someone to vent to. You put others before yourself on a regular basis.
There are days you think this job is too hard and days you have given it everything you can and still feel like it wasn’t enough. But I also know you get up, put a smile on your face and face it head on every day.
Teacher, I get you
Those nights you cannot sleep because you toss and turn worrying about a student, I get you. When you look forward to weekends and holidays, but because you know for some of your students it means a lapse in food and security, you worry when you should be enjoying your family. I get you.
You wanted new shoes, but decided not to get them because you found really cool games your students would love and bought those instead. I get you.
When you see the hurtful comments and teacher bashing on social media and your spirit falters because you know how much heart, effort, and time you put into your profession, I get you.
You fall asleep on the couch at 5 on Friday night and spend Sunday afternoon making plans and grading papers. Your idea of a social event is a pizza and adult conversation. I get you.
You fear for your own health, but fear the danger your students might be in while they are at home during this pandemic. I get you.
I know the pride you feel when the student everyone said would never make it walks across the stage at graduation. Those victories feel more special than seeing your own kid, because you knew they would make it. You know the effort, love, support, and faith it took to get that to happen, and your eyes well with tears, and your heart threatens to burst. I get you.
Teacher, I appreciate you
You may not realize it, but I appreciate the hours of time you put in each day. I appreciate the weekends you devote to your students and performing duties for your school. Those late nights away from your family so other children can experience sports, clubs and competitions is appreciated, as are the summer hours preparing your classroom, making lessons and taking classes.
It is not right that you spend your own money to help your students and provide supplies for your classrooms, but it is appreciated. When you do those special things for your students and colleagues, like remembering their birthdays, making them treats, saying kind words, it is appreciated.
I appreciate the love you freely give to students who bask in the light of your smile or the warmth of a hug. The atmosphere of respect and acceptance in your classroom is as appreciated as the gentle way you correct a child.
Teacher, you are awesome
Teaching is the hardest job I ever loved.
You see, the fact is, you do a job that most people choose not to. It is not glamorous, and you will not become rich. Teaching is a job that most people take for granted.
But teaching is a calling. It reaches into your soul and claims you. As a teacher called to this noble profession, you are awesome!
You make a difference every day.
Know that when you feel at your lowest, you are seen, you are appreciated, you are understood and you are awesome.
A retired teacher
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