To Sir (or Ma'am) With Love

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The inspirational female education activist Malala Yousafzai once said, “Let us remember: one book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” While most of us would agree that Malala is correct, teaching is still one of the most undercompensated and underappreciated professions in the U.S. in comparison with its radical influence. We can all point to a teacher or several teachers that impacted our lives tremendously. Whether you remember your third grade teacher for her innovative lessons, your high school history teacher for his sarcastic quips, a music teacher for her evident passion, or an administrator's suggestion for your future career that set you on your current path, we have all been impacted by teachers.

For me, I had two AP English teachers that changed the way I saw the world, literature, and myself. Dr. Huelsman and Mrs. McDaniel not only helped me make 5s on the AP exams and decide that I wanted to be an English teacher as well, they taught me how to think critically and fostered a love of literature that has endured long after I exited their classrooms. Both will be in attendance at my wedding next week, and both impacted me more significantly than they probably know.

This is why teacher appreciation week is important. We don’t celebrate it simply to excuse giving teachers free things (although as a teacher that is a wonderful perk). We do it because teachers matter in our lives, our friends’ lives, our children’s lives, etc. And let me tell you, we don’t hear very many “thank yous”. We don’t do what we do in order to receive recognition, but there are days when we question if we are making a difference at all. There are hours where we wonder if we’ve actually taught our students anything. There are minutes when we contemplate whether this is really what we want to pour our lives into. In moments like these, teachers need notes/gifts/memories to return to. We need to remember the few times that students told us what they learned, how we inspired them, and how we made a difference. We need to have memories that inspire us to continue because not every day will be a victory. That is why we have a week dedicated to our teachers.

This week, my school has also been kind enough to provide breakfast and lunch for us every day. It is definitely much easier to convince high school students to learn at 8:00 am with coffee and a fresh muffin in my system, believe me. However, what I have really enjoyed this week are students’ genuine comments and compliments. I’ve also immensely enjoyed seeing colleagues appreciated for all they do. So, this week let a teacher (current or former) know why and how they made a difference in your life to encourage them the next time he or she questions himself. For the educators out there, enjoy a $200 discount until May 21, 2018 on a trip from our team here at Bookbag Tours in celebration of the difference you have made and will continue to make. And please remember the words of a young activist wise beyond her years: “One teacher can change the world.”

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