Relish Those Thank Yous, No Matter How Big or Small or Furry...

As Teacher Appreciation Week draws to a close, let this be a reminder to all of us to thank those who make a difference in our lives.  I've had so many great teachers in my past that inspired me to push myself, to want to learn, and to feel passionately about literature and writing. I want to take a moment to thank all of them (and I'm not going to try to name them all because I'll forget someone and feel awful) for believing in me and my abilities. I know I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for those amazing teachers I had all throughout my schooling.

As a high school teacher, we are often the last to receive "gifts" from students. Some days we're just lucky not to be called a name or get eye rolls from our students. Most of the feedback I receive from students sounds like this:
"Why don't we ever get a 'free' day in here?"
"You mean we have to read!?"
"And we have to write, too!? Ugh..."
"I can't do this. I don't have anything to write with."
"What time is it? When are we out of here?"
"Are you going to give us time to work on this tomorrow because I have Spanish homework I have to do?"
"But Mr. So-and-so lets us do whatever we want in class!"
"I forgot my book. Can I just sleep?"
"I didn't do my homework. I was up too late texting my boyfriend."
"But I was almost in the room when the bell rang!"
"I can't believe you gave us homework when we have a basketball game tonight!"

However, being invited to graduation parties (and devouring graduation cake!) usually makes up for all those comments. Well, most of the time. Or, at least I forget about it by then.

But then, every so often a student will come along who does take the time to tell us "thanks." It's those days that really make me proud to be a teacher. Sometimes it's in a note, sometimes it's in a speech, and sometimes it's in the form of a big furry oversize PEZ dispenser.

Whatever the form, relish those moments. Because, quite frankly, if you teach high school, you never know when the next one will come.

For my last year as yearbook and newspaper adviser, my students gave me a giant PEZ stuffed bunny because I collect PEZ dispensers. It was one of the most amazing gifts I've received from students!
 I received this clever Post-it note holder from a student last year during Teacher Appreciation Week. She used a 5x7 picture frame and scrapbooking supplies to make it. She knows how much I love books! :)

The two middle shelves behind my desk contain many of the little gadgets and gifts I've received from students. You may be able to see more PEZ dispensers (my prized hand-painted Obama dispenser by artist Steve White), an Isabel Bloom sculpture (from my first student-teacher), some certificates for various Teacher awards, Star Wars bobble heads, a Hunger Games mug (with Haymitch's "As charming as a dead slug" quote), and more.

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