Teacher Appreciation Week: May 2-8, 2010

Did you love school when you were a kid? If you did then chances are you had at least one favorite teacher whose memory makes you smile every time you recall that special class. No doubt mine was Johnnie Williams. Mrs. Williams was my homeroom teacher for three years in junior high. (In those days junior high was grades 7, 8, and 9.) We had homeroom for half-an-hour each day. During that time we took care of school business. We also used it as study hall. We worked on community service projects. Mrs. Williams was always our leader and inspiration. She showed so much caring and kindness to all of us. We were able to really build a relationship with her during the course of three years. She followed most of us through our high school years and beyond. She came to my wedding and baby showers. A few years ago I went to her retirement party. When I think about her, I am both happy and thankful.

I have been fortunate that through the years I have been able to let Mrs. Williams know how much gratitude I have for what she has done for me. I know one of the reasons that I became a teacher has to do with her. Which teacher inspired you to become a teacher? Have you let that person know?

This was my husband Michael’s favorite activity of the year when teaching high school. He always did it with high school seniors during Teacher Appreciation Week, the first full week in May. He would have the students write a letter to a former elementary or middle school teacher. They needed to recall something done in the teacher’s class that had a major impact on their lives and to explain that the experience contributed to their staying in school and graduating. He would have the letters delivered to the teachers. Both the students and Michael would often hear back from the teacher. What a win-win for everyone involved!

So what about your students? A wonderful assignment would be to have them write a letter to their favorite teacher and mail it. Granted you might have to do a little homework to help kids find addresses, but often if the teachers are in the same district or building it’s easy to deliver letters via “school mail.” You can make this a formal lesson on letter writing if you want. (TCR# 2985 Letter Writing, TCR #3007 Writing Workshop, and TCR #3137 Classroom Authoring, Guided Writing, have some excellent examples of how to do this.) Imagine how thrilled one of your colleagues who receives a letter will be. And wouldn’t you want someone to do the same for you?

Letter Writing, Grades 1-2Writing Workshop, Grades 4-6Classroom Authoring: Guided Writing, Grades 4-8

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