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Going Beyond Appreciation This Teacher Appreciation Week: Celebrating Empathy, Gratitude, and Inspiration

By Wes Ford
 | May 07, 2024

1200x630 appreciationHappy Teacher Appreciation Day!

I love that there is a specific Teacher Appreciation Day in the five days that make up Teacher Appreciation Week. Teachers deserve that level of recognition. Heck, given how I was as a child, some teachers deserve a government-issues award.

Which leads me to why Teacher Appreciation Week is important. Our educators are the bedrock of our communities. In general, they are constant and unyielding. As individuals, a single teacher can have a significant impact on student's academic career—and therefore that student's entire life!

It’s personal

I'm an example of that myself. I had…difficulties reading. Let’s just say that both Kelly B. Cartwright’s ILA Webinar Executive Functions: Foundations for Self-Regulated Reading and  Kelli Sandman-Hurley’s ILA Webinar Dyslexia for a Day: A Simulation of Dyslexia resonated with me on a personal level.

My second grade teacher Mrs. Dapkus identified my reading difficulties and recommended specific testing and out-of-school tutoring to see those challenges addressed. Within a couple years time, I was one of the stronger readers and writers in my classes. Without her intervention, I might have been one of the students who never caught up, never fell in love with books, never learned to enjoy writing.

More than just appreciation

This year, I wanted do something a little different with ILA's observation of Teacher Appreciation Week. Instead of just appreciation, I wanted recognition other concepts and feelings that go along educators in my mind and give each of those its own day., and my themes waffle between feels evoked for educators (like appreciation and gratitude) and qualities they possess (such as inspiration and empathy). But I like to think I captured some of the core aspects appreciating teachers.

1080x1080 celebrationCelebration
We kick things off with pure celebration! Our opening theme is about recognizing the joys and triumphs that teachers bring to their classrooms every day and honoring the positive impact and the sense of community they carefully build.

1080x1080 appreciationAppreciation
This is the classic Teacher Appreciation Day focus. We take the time to express our sincere thanks for the tireless efforts teachers put in, going above and beyond for every student.

1080x1080 empathyEmpathy
Great teachers possess the ability to see the world through their students' eyes, to listen to and understand their stories, and understand that a strong interpersonal connection is better for their students and for the school community than strict adherence to rules and policies simply for the sake of strict adherence.

1080x1080 gratitudeGratitude
Our gratitude for teachers runs deep. We're grateful for the knowledge they share, the patience they exhibit, and the countless extra hours they put in to ensure student success. We see you. And we thank you.

1080x1080 inspirationInspiration
The best teachers are more than just educators; they're sources of inspiration. And every teacher was once a student, themselves. We hope educators will share stories about the teachers who inspired them.

Teachers have a profound influence on who we become and the world we create. This Teacher Appreciation Week, let's go beyond the standard sentiments and truly celebrate the heart of education: the extraordinary educators who make it all possible. Thank you, teachers, for everything you do!

What are some unique ways you celebrate educators in your life, not just this week, but all year round?

Wes Ford has been fortunate to have had many stellar teachers across the years.

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