To You, Who Teach

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week/Thank a Youth Worker Day/Education Professional Appreciation Week/Afterschool Admiration Week/Teachers-Are-Awesome, Aren’t-They?? Day

(I may have made a few of those up)

In short, this is the week we thank teachers.  Historically, this is the day/week/month that we take a moment to say:  Hey, Teachers--- WOW, you.  Just WOW, WOW, WOW.    

And not just classroom teachers, but all those who teach our children. And when you start to think about that list, it can get quite long, quite quickly.

So, to you, who teach…

To our classroom teachers who are working tirelessly right now to take their classrooms virtual. Who are turning their lesson plans to e-learning posts, and setting up zoom meetings, and calling and texting to check on our children, who are online at 6 in the morning and 11 at night—THANK YOU. You are epic, and are deserving of major league athlete/Hollywood movie star level salaries. For real

To our art and music and gym and STEM and library teachers who are sending creative activities for our children through the virtual wires—THANK YOU.

To our afterschool professionals who are turning our children’s out-of-school-time clubs and activities into virtual meetings designed to stimulate their minds, bodies, and souls—THANK YOU.

To our principals, superintendents, coaches, youth group leaders, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodial staff, administrative staff, counselors, teaching assistants, curriculum writers, individualized education specialists, resource teachers, security guards, groundskeepers –THANK YOU—you are such a part of the fabric of our children’s lives that we are missing right now.

And to you, the moms and dads and aunts and grandparents and sisters and brothers who are trying to act as surrogate teachers right now; trying to learn how to do math the new way and understand the periodic table; trying to keep up with e-learning assignments and understand how to navigate all the many virtual platforms; trying to cook breakfast and lunch and dinner every day and offer stimulating body and brain breaks throughout the day; trying to make sure your children are staying connected with their school, their peer groups, their community—THANK YOU.

Some school districts are winding down for the 2019-2020 school year, about to put this one in the books, with a relieved swipe of the brow. Others are buckling in for another month and half of this alternative learning reality. For all of us, summer lurks as a question and fall still seems uncertain.

But, what we know for sure is this: our children are shaped by every interaction and every opportunity to learn, question, and be challenged. They are shaped by the risks they take and the creative outlets they explore. They are shaped by the different voices they hear and the ways that they are encouraged to use their own voice.

Our children are shaped by us. Who they are tomorrow is so much shaped by who we are today.

So to you, who teach. Thank you.

Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.