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Happy Teacher Appreciation Week

Written by: Ginny Norton

May 1, 2020

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! (Though a week feels so insufficient.) Now more than ever, parents across the country have appreciation for everything teachers do for their children. Teachers are selflessly motivated to care for, influence, and inspire development in children. Every day, as we interact with members of our community, find comfort in books, and witness scientific and engineering feats, we see the positive impact of teachers. Picture for a moment all that a child learns from teachers, from the first preschool classroom until graduation and beyond. Those competencies shape us and provide us with the opportunities to become the best person we can be.

It’s been an interesting few months, watching the world we knew twisted upside down. Every day feels like it hangs in limbo, presenting its own new questions. This can be especially true for parents who find themselves homeschooling for the first time. How do I, as a parent, ensure my child continues to learn through this season? What kind of things should I be teaching my child, and how do I go about that? Where can I find resources, and how do I know if they’re the right ones? Who can I trust as an expert?

Surprising to no one, teachers have stepped up, more than ever before. Teachers, the once under-appreciated caregivers of our children, are now a lifeline for parents; they answer questions with a calm, reassuring voice that puts both parents and children at ease.

My sister forwarded me this email from her 4-year-old daughter’s preschool teacher, Mrs. Cancro.

It has been challenging for me to struggle with not only the wide range of abilities of my preschoolers, but also the range of what parents are able to handle during the pandemic from a homeschool perspective. You, probably more than any other parent, can understand my struggle to remain true to developmentally appropriate practices for my preschoolers while trying to teach from a completely virtual platform. I, in good faith, cannot just send home stacks of worksheets.

It does not surprise me that Mrs. Cancro is so invested in the lives of the children in her class that she is losing sleep over how to reach them, even while their learning is happening outside of her classroom. It also doesn’t surprise me when I see my niece share the love that is provided to her in her classroom with others, including me. I am a very active person; it’s how my brain functions best. But having been cooped up for several days, working in a darkish room, I felt discouraged by the limited options I had for getting myself out of a funky mood. My niece noticed this and suggested, “Aunt G, let’s take time to move our bodies.” She then led me through several fun and somewhat silly movements. I was then instructed to think about the things that make me happy about the day, and I was given a hug. In that moment, I understood that Mrs. Cancro understands my needs in the same way she understands the needs of the 4-year-olds in her class. Wow! Thank you, Mrs. Cancro.

The lessons taught in preschool matter! Being a good community member, remembering to have fun, and knowing we aren’t in this alone, is critical. To all teachers, THANK YOU! Thank you for being passionate about teaching children. We are grateful for your positive influence on their growth and success.

The social mission of Hatch is to close the achievement gap. This mission requires that we equip teachers with effective tools – no matter where learning is happening – that allow them to connect and develop meaningful relationships with children and families. On some days the barriers can seem impossible. But today I challenged myself to think like a teacher: to provide meaningful guidance and to create solutions that serve the community in ways that are compassionate and effective.

May we all take the challenge of thinking like a teacher! I think we would all be better for it!

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