Inspiring Educators Roundup: Teacher Appreciation Week Edition

We thought the best way we could appreciate teachers was to share some of their stories and hopefully pass some inspiration on to others. However, for all the teachers that haven’t been featured on the news, celebrated by the media or their local community, or done any of the things these articles mention, know that what you’re doing is enough.

The workload and stress of this suddenly disrupted school year has never been experienced before. Completely changing your lesson plans, mode of teaching, distribution of content mid-year  — all the while not getting to experience the joys of being with your students in the classroom — that is a challenge only you fully understand. To honor Teacher Appreciation Week, show yourself some compassion. What you’re doing is enough. In fact, it’s more than enough. If you’re struggling to believe that, read this. And perhaps, this experience will show the world how valuable you really are. Thank you for all that you do!

Who inspires you right now? Give them a shoutout by tweeting us @EnrichingEdJobs. We hope the collection of stories below lifts your spirits!

Stories about students and teachers at schools using 3D printers to make masks for healthcare workers have been popping up all over the country in the past few weeks. This piece from The 74 profiles some of the schools making this happen. Says Middle School teacher Emily Frawley, echoing the motivation of many other teachers, “We can think to ourselves, ‘What skills do I have that could contribute to a solution, and what resources do I have around me that could help?’” Schools have provided hundreds of protective face masks and shields to local hospitals.

How are schools celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week when they can’t be in school? One principal in Virginia ran a curbside ‘Burger Bash.’ Why burgers? Every year at Bridneck Elementary School, Teacher Appreciation Week has been celebrated by a ‘Burger Bash’ cookout, with Principal R.V. Yoshida manning the grill. He didn’t want to cancel the tradition this year, so he came up with a creative idea to keep everyone safe, while still making sure teachers felt appreciated.

School closures have hit the graduating class of 2020 with deep disappointment. But educators have been finding creative ways to still celebrate them, and show them that they matter. This is true of a Principal who traveled 800 miles to visit his 612 graduating seniors. The Principal Wylie High School in Texas, Virdie Montgomery gave students a note that read “I am so sorry that this has happened. I can’t believe I’ve not gotten to meet with you and watch you finish this year and all the things you were involved in. I am honored to be your principal.” Watch the video coverage here.

A shift to remote learning has meant a slew of canceled school events. At Whitney Young High School, this meant that dance students lost out on their annual performance. Jeanette Gordon, dance teacher at the school, didn’t want her students to feel forgotten. So she made “socially distant visits” to her dance students to give them a little souvenir, and see how they were doing. She documented her visits and put a video together, which you can watch here.

An article from Education Week shared the story of 3 teachers who are supporting their students during COVID-19. One teacher in Alabama used their stimulus check to pay for the utility bills of 3 of their students’ families. An elementary teacher, from Connecticut, has a student whose family is sick with the virus. She offered to care for their newborn baby while they recovered. Read more about these two stories, and get the third one here.  

And to close out…remember that teacher who created a buzz from greeting his students with 75 individual handshakes? David Jamison, a teacher in Memphis Tennessee, tested positive for COVID-19 back in March. On April 22nd, he announced that he had recovered. His advice to himself on dealing with the challenges of being away from his students? “While you’re pouring into other people’s cups, you have to keep yours overflowing.” Read more about his story here.

Ashley Mauger
Author: Ashley Mauger