FLOYD LEE LOCUMS STORIES

Teacher helping a group of students with their work in a classroom

How Teacher Appreciation Week Got Me Thinking

by Kelly Starkey in Community Impact 27/05/2017

How Teacher Appreciation Week Got Me Thinking

Teacher helping a group of students with their work

As a parent, I was thrilled to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week earlier this month and recognize the great teachers in my children’s lives. Now, you might ask yourself, why there is a specific week dedicated to recognizing teachers when we have PTA events all year long? Well, of course, the answer is obvious.  We show our appreciation because we are supposed to, or because we are expected to, which feels good, and then we can check it off our list.  Right?

In my mind, there is so much more to be grateful for.  Yes, we celebrate our teachers for doing hard jobs and for guiding our children’s education. But we recognize them for more than just teaching – we recognize them for mentoring and loving our children. For inspiring them and helping them make those critical connections that create a passion for learning and exploring, a passion for imagining, for dreaming!  For setting them on a path of knowledge that drives their success in life by how they harness that passion and use it to their gain.

Do you remember when your child first began to read and the pride they had in not only mastering a skill but the excitement of seeing the story unfold and being able to enjoy that story with no assistance?

Teachers are our first mentors, and mentors in life are critical to success.

Throughout our lives, we have many mentors who impact us, some we seek out and others who find us based on circumstances, both good and bad. Have you had a “bad teacher” in your life that you didn’t like or didn’t learn from? Even that experience taught you what you did not want in life and what you needed from a teacher or mentor to be successful.

Mentor working with smiling young woman

Some of the toughest lessons of my career were learned because I had a mentor, or a leader that became my mentor,  who cared enough about me to teach me what they knew. Some of those lessons were easy, and I was grateful for their help in my learning and growth. Others were harder, when I wasn‘t receptive to the message or I thought they were being unfair or overly harsh in their criticisms. The reality was that they were being harsh, and I needed it! I didn’t like it. It felt bad, and frankly, it made me mad. Mad enough to get fired up and prove them wrong – prove to them that I was more than capable and that I could do whatever it was they had challenged me to do.

Beyond challenging us, the other reason why mentors are so critical to long-term success is the best practices and the success habits you can learn to emulate from them.

It doesn’t mean you will do everything just like them or that you will always react as a copy of their exact mindset.  It does mean you will learn from someone that has already been down a path of success, and you can possibly skip over some pitfalls and learn a few lessons faster, with more confidence because of their shared knowledge.

Celebrate the teachers in your life, and your children’s, regularly, not just during “Appreciation Week.” Thank teachers for being the first true mentors your children will have. Help your children understand the gift they are getting, so they will continue to seek out mentors in life at every stage. That is the gift of a lifetime.

— Natasha Lee, C.E.O. of Floyd Lee Locums