The focus of teacher appreciation tends to be on how students and parents can appreciate their teachers. While I agree that is very important, I would like to consider a different aspect of teacher appreciation.
I would like to encourage teachers to demonstrate appreciation for each other.
Gone are the days where teachers go into their classrooms, shut their door and go throughout their day without talking much to other adults. The world of education has shifted considerably to a model of collaboration over the past decade.
In addition, many schools are implementing inclusion classrooms more than ever before. This means that regular and special education teachers need to collaborate to meet the needs of both populations of students.
As a special educator, I experienced very little appreciation and/or collaboration with general education teachers. This could be for a variety of reasons. I taught in a self-contained classroom, which meant that I did not leave my classroom often at all. I was with my students from the time they got off the bus in the morning until we put them back on the bus to send them home in the afternoon. I even ate lunch with them. As a recent college graduate, I did not feel comfortable reaching out to veteran teachers for help. I made it through my first year and progressed every year after, but often felt like I was completely alone.
What if teachers take the time to reach out to each other and express their appreciation? I believe this would make a huge impact on the environment in schools. It would create a positive working environment for the teachers, which would then, in turn, impact the students.
When you pass other teachers in the hallway, compliment them on their newly decorated bulletin board, the new strategy you hear they are trying out this year or how they handled that difficult parent. Reach out to new teachers, special education teachers, general education teachers and teachers who are getting ready to retire.
It will make a difference!
More About Rebekah:
Rebekah graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in special education and a dual certification in both regular and special education. She completed her master’s degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University. Currently, she is pursuing her Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership with an Emphasis in Special Education at Grand Canyon University. During her 11 years as a special education teacher, Rebekah has fulfilled a variety of roles: she spent five years in a sixth through eighth grade self-contained special education classroom; she taught special education students for a virtual school for six years; she was the middle school resource teacher; and she served as a middle school self-contained cross-categorical special education teacher. Furthermore, Rebekah has taught at Phoenix College, and has been a college supervisor for teacher candidates at Rio Salado Community College and GCU. She is passionate about students with special needs, and she enjoys working with future special educators.