What Are Educators Thankful for in 2020?

By Dr. Tracy Vasquez and Dr. Marjaneh Gilpatrick

a thankful teacher in a classroom with her students

Let us take some time to reflect upon thankfulness, and what we can appreciate as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches. The year 2020 has brought on many challenges for us all, and with these challenges it is important to remind ourselves about the power of gratitude in our lives. This year, a few reoccurring focal points of gratitude come up:

Our Health

“I am grateful for the health and safety of us all.” – Katy Sell, faculty

In this uncertain time, health cannot be taken for granted. Educators spend much of their lives pouring into others. Continued health is imperative for fulfilling the goal of an educator. As 2020 draws to a close, educators who have maintained their health through this season have much to be grateful for. We appreciate God’s hand in the recovery of some who have gotten sick and are extremely thankful for the health of friends and family.

Our Family and Friends

Thanksgiving is a special time to focus on the personal connections we have in our lives. While we may not have traditional celebrations this year with large gatherings of family and friends, we can still take some time to connect with those we care about. With the blessings of technology, we can partake in “fun virtual activities” as faculty member Kimber Underdown says. Connecting through video-chats, online games, and social media we find gratitude in sharing special moments with our family, friends and students.

Finding Balance in Our Lives

“Family, friends, health and balance” – Crystal McCabe, faculty

Faculty educators have developed flexibility and perseverance throughout the changes and demands of 2020. Throughout this, many teachers and school administrators have found how to achieve balance through difficult times. As our lives develop past the turmoil of this year, we can rebalance by reflecting upon what enriches our lives. As Albert Einstein once said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Finding balance and seeking out what makes us truly happy is what makes this year a unique opportunity for elevating ourselves and finding balance in all we do.

Our Purpose

“I'm thankful to work at a university that is stable and giving to its employees.” -- Meredith Critchfield, faculty chair

As we reflect on this difficult year, and what is to come in 2021, you can feel some balance by looking to your sense of purpose. Every day, educators rise to a known purpose – to help develop and grow their students. This sense of purpose is something to be continually grateful for, despite the many challenges and changes that accompanied 2020. We appreciate the culture and community of working in an environment that cultivates strengths and works towards improving the lives of others through education and community. As educators, you can focus on “a positive mindset and a spirit of continuous improvement,” says by Julianne Brett, Director of Clinical Practice.

“I am thankful for future teachers who are willing to take risks and participate in online teaching at local schools” – Jena Akard, faculty.

In the field of education, we would be remiss if we did not draw our attention to appreciating the great minds educators work with on a daily basis-students! In addition, as educators, we are celebrating children across the country. There is wonderful work being done in K-12 classrooms and in homes across the nation who inspire our continued interest and passion in education.

“I am grateful for the wisdom of children - their perspective on the world and the way in which they help you see the little things that make life curious and wonderful. I love their open and accepting love and their willingness to see past the superficial. I appreciate their energy and life, even in times of challenge. Children remind me to focus on what matters and I love being around them to help me remember the important stuff.” -- Stephanie Nilsen, faculty

As we take this time for gratitude and reflection, we hope you will also express your gratitude for all you value in your life, what inspires you and what helps you stay connected. Let’s all keep our heads held high as we celebrate moving into this holiday season with an abundance of thankfulness!

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.