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15 Things We’ve Forgotten To Thank Our Teachers For

15 Things We’ve Forgotten To Thank Our Teachers For

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

Child Note

    Featured photo credit: Stanley Kubrick / Girl in Classroom via upload.wikimedia.org

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    Last Updated on May 21, 2019

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

    If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

    Example 1

    You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

    You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

    In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

    Example 2

    You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

    People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

    You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

    Example 3

    You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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    The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

    Example 4

    You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

    Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

    If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

    Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

    • Understand your own communication style
    • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
    • Communicate with precision and care
    • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

    1. Understand Your Communication Style

    To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

    In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

    Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

    2. Learn Others Communication Styles

    Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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    If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

    “How do you prefer to receive information?”

    This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

    To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

    3. Exercise Precision and Care

    A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

    On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

    Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

    I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

    I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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    In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

    The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

    Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

    4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

    Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

    In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

    “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

    Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

    Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

    It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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    It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

    It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

    Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

    Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

    The Bottom Line

    When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

    I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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    Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

    Reference

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