Friday marked the end of Teacher Appreciation Week 2015. While my current gig allows me to interact with teachers on a regular basis, I can’t kid myself into thinking it’s the same embedded connection I had when working daily in schools and districts.
Instead, I took to twitter and took advantage of the ability to thank the teachers in my life beyond any geographic bounds. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I started the day by listing and cuing up messages of thanks for teachers whom I admire, and who have shaped the person, educator, and learner I’ve become and am becoming. Monday, my thanks were focused on those who served formally as teachers in my years as a student. From my mom to past professors, I contemplated and shared my gratitude for the time they have taken to help me learn.
Tuesday was a day of thanks for those educators I’ve gotten to work alongside throughout my career. Across three states and more than a decade, I got to give a shout out to the people who’ve helped shape my practice as a professional.
Wednesday, I turned my attention to thanking those teachers I met virtually through their blogging or tweeting before I got the chance to learn from them in person. I’ve still yet to be in the same room as some of them, like Stephanie Sandifer.
I realize it seems as though I’m being self-congratulatory here, writing about how great I am for using 140 characters to thank those who’ve left immeasurable impact on my life. That’s not the intent.
I bring it up because of the joy it brought me each morning to pause and think about those educators who have and continue to help me see the joy in learning. This was a collateral benefit, and I found myself looking forward to reminding myself of the list of people I value and appreciate. I was reminded of the community of which I find myself a part.
I also bring it up because it struck me in the first few ours of these tweets how they were adding to the paper cuts on the skin of the negative narrative that feels as though its suffocating teaching. Each was a quick shout of, “Here’s why we matter and how the good we do echoes through the years.”
Each retweet or reply from a connection on twitter amplified that feeling. I relished each favorite or retweet from a friend on twitter whom I knew for sure had no connection to the teacher I was thanking. Each was a sort of nod of thanks to the public good that teacher had put forth.
I’ll be continuing to use #ThankATeacher throughout the year. There’s a psychic good in each tweet, and I’m happy to make whatever paper cuts I can to remind folks of how much education works.