Teachers have superhuman qualities. They’re tolerant, patient, loving, encouraging, forgiving, supportive, kind, warm, generous, and painfully honest, among other things. They forfeit family activities, personal free time, friends, hobbies, and, in many cases, their mental well being to willingly bend over backwards for their kids. They’ve made some of the most lasting impacts on our lives, and always did something extra special to make their class the one we looked forward to. They cheered the loudest at the pep rallies and are quick to give up their own penny to buy extra art supplies when the district cuts the program entirely.
Teachers are superheroes that don’t need shiny capes or fancy leotards. (Let’s be honest, their outfits are way better anyway.)
Sadly, they aren’t as celebrated as professional athletes, movie stars, or famous politicians. They don’t get fat paychecks and sign autographs for endearing fans. Their driveways aren’t flooded with paparazzi, and their faces aren’t on headline scandals of U.S. Weekly.
They are, however, much more than any of that. It’s time we recognized and thanked them for the invaluable lessons they taught us both in and out of the classroom. Here’s 15 things we’ve forgotten to thank our teachers for, but it’s never too late to do so.
1. Thanks for teaching us how to share with one another.
Mousetrap, floor poppers, K’nex, and Koosh Balls are rad, but they’re way more fun with someone to enjoy them with. As much as we hated to let others join back then, we’re thankful for the friendships we made from sharing now.
2. Thanks for running after school programs, coaching, and grading papers every night, all while maintaining a “life of your own.”
The majority of you are soccer coaches, running the forensics team, or cheerleading the loudest at the football game against crosstown rivals. Starting and ending bells don’t mean a thing to you.
3. Thanks for giving us candy for subtle wins in academics, because it’s a proven fact that teacher candy is the tastiest.
The reward of getting an answer right is just as rewarding for the student as the teacher who watches the spark. Throw candy in the mix? Yowza.
4. Thanks for making us realize we were good at something we once thought we sucked at.
That Snoopy cartoon you made us draw that we thought would look like the bird poop splattered on dad’s front hood but turned out so good it made Charles Schultz jealous? That’s all you, teach.
5. Thanks for putting your life outside the classroom on hold for 9 hours a day and putting a smile on instead.
Many of us struggle to balance our personal drama with our desk job. Try doing that with 20-40 button pushing kids all day. Talk about resolve.
6. Thanks for dealing with an education system that isn’t always fair, and sticking up for us when your bosses don’t.
Anyone with a “real world” job knows that crud flows down the structural pyramid fast, so to speak. When state and city mandated budget cuts force outdated books, or the cutting of a program, teachers are normally the first ones to stand up in protest.
7. Thanks for giving us accurate and speedy feedback on our progress, or lack thereof.
“Days off” are two words a lot of teachers aren’t familiar with. Have you ever stopped to consider how many of you there are in a classroom and how badly our teachers want to see all of those you’s succeed?
8. Thanks for providing fair and honest discipline.
Being the infamous jerk teacher isn’t something any teacher strives to be. Keeping rule and authority in the classroom is a tricky playing field. I can’t begin to image how many times teachers must be asked, ‘Can I have my phone back?’ nowadays.
9. Thanks for loving your job despite horrendous pay.
Let’s not dance around it, they should be paid tons more for what they do. Period.
10. Thanks for making our imaginations stretch.
Giving open ended, your-choice-of-subject-matter type of assignments to keep things fresh works wonders for us kids. Thank you for giving us the academic freedom to explore our creative interests during school time.
11. Thanks for staying up with pop culture and cracking jokes about it even though it usually makes you look lame.
I once saw a teacher try to Walk it Out, and I’ll never forget it.
12. Thanks for making your own holiday decorations and coating your classroom in it. You’re so crafty!
Teachers are ingenious when it comes to this. If their curriculum can’t handle that kind of free time during November and December, they’ll spend late nights with hot cocoa carving construction paper snowflakes.
13. Thanks for putting us over you.
They offer kids a ride home when their parents forgot them after practice. They sit with a kid who missed the late school bus home after tutoring. They willingly pay for the kids meal who can’t afford cafeteria hot lunch. They always put our individual interests and happiness over their own. Always.
14. Thanks for believing in us.
Remember when you were so frustrated by math that you went to your teacher after school nearly in tears, and the two of you tackled long division together? Or how about the time you found out you were dyslexic and your teacher sat with you reading every word of an entire chapter during their lunch time? If there’s one thing you’ll never see a teacher do, it’s give up on a student in their class. Not a single one.
15. Thanks for changing our lives forever.
We easily forget all the things you’ve done for us, and sometimes we don’t recognize them until we’re older. Please understand that even though we don’t say it as much as we should, what you do and what you’ve done for us can’t be reciprocated, faked, or given by anyone else.
You’ve always been our heros, and you always will be. To put it the only way we know how:
Featured photo credit: Stanley Kubrick / Girl in Classroom via upload.wikimedia.org