Ahead of a winter break, I sent a note to the art teachers in my district. I thought I would share it here, in part to wish the same to those readers who are educators, and also to illustrate — to those who are not — a tiny piece of what teachers do every day.
You have earned this break, my friends.
I recently had a conversation about just how much energy is exchanged in our schools. It’s a rather meta-physical perspective, I suppose, but I bet you feel what I am talking about every day. You pour your energy into your students and into your teaching, and while some interactions with students can fill you with joy and pride, others can be draining. If my own experience is typical, you probably go home spent and exhausted more often than not.
You spend so much of your time giving your energy away and not always receiving in return. I hope you have the opportunity over the next couple of weeks to restore your energy. Whether you reconnect with friends and family, your passions, or with nature – I hope you will relax, enjoy, and find yourself refilled and restored for the new year.
One colleague shared a story in response. She had recently met a man who went to the elementary school where she teaches. The man asked about one her colleagues who was his teacher in elementary school. She wrote, “This gentleman told me that Mr. Anderson is his favorite teacher and that he will always remember him and appreciate what he had done for him.” She went on to say, “So we may not receive energy back right away, it may take years to know that it is appreciated, but meeting that now grown up student made me remember that it’s always energy well spent and appreciated.”
Well said! Whether you hear about the appreciation of a student indirectly, or you bump into one of your own former students — as I hope you do from time to time — remember that it is energy well spent. Perhaps if we all make an effort to thank a teacher, we can remind many more that this is true.