This Teacher Appreciation Week, Let’s Thank the Whole Village

by Amy DiLuna

If you’re anything like me, you understand now more than ever the value of the village of incredible humans that teach, feed, coach and care for our kids. 

Where would we be without the custodial staff that keeps our children’s spaces clean? The security guards who make sure they’re safe? The art and music teachers, coaches and specialists, meal providers, caregivers and bus drivers?

We know now. And hoo boy, do we miss them.

This teacher appreciation week, which kicks off Monday, May 4, let’s celebrate everyone who “teaches” our kids. This pandemic and all of the life difficulties it’s brought with it – teaching our kids at home while feeling stress and worry, suffering isolation from our communities and struggling to juggle more tasks than ever at once – has laid bare a crucial truth: We parents are people who need other people to make this whole thing work. 

Today my preschooler’s Zoom opened with every child holding an apple (or a drawing of one – who can guarantee what groceries we’ve got in the house these days?) as a thank-you to teachers. They were thrilled, and the kids loved being able to participate in a group surprise (and eat the fruits of their labor).

Teachers, who were already heroes, have proven themselves superheroes in the last two months, stepping up to the challenge of doing their jobs in very changed circumstances.

We’re so grateful to them; let’s widen the circle of gratitude even further. 

Need a simple idea? Write a note – or make a sweet video – to be distributed to all the team-members in your life helping to enrich your children’s lives. Maybe it’s your toddler’s music teacher, or the librarian who runs storytime. Maybe it’s the owner of a bookstore who never seems to mind the mess your little one makes. We know families are missing seeing their Tinkergarten Leaders in person, and our Leaders are missing them too! 

For bigger kids, reach out to both the teachers and the school staff who may get overlooked this week. Ask your administrator to pass on a message from the family to custodians, building superintendents, security staffers, kitchen teams and more to say thank you. Or, if you homeschool, reach out to the people and programs you pull in to support you and your child.

For even more impact, if you are able, pay it forward by making a donation or sharing with friends about the work of a charity that is stepping in to fill just part of the space teachers and schools fill in kids’ lives right now – No Kid Hungry and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America are two that aim their efforts at kids. Just make sure your pick has been vetted through Charity Navigator or CharityWatch.  

However you choose to recognize the everyday heroes that make your kids’ lives better (and yours, in return), we are sure it will be much appreciated. 

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