Thursday, May 16, 2013

Teacher Unappreciation Day

Yesterday was Teacher Appreciation Day at school. I'd been looking forward to it since last year's Teacher Appreciation Day was so wonderful. I truly felt special and appreciated that day. But this year was very different. And not in a good way.

If you take a moment to check out my post from last year in the link above, you'll read about all the lovely gifts I received from my students and you'll see photos of the best part - the cards they all wrote for me. Don't be lazy...go! Plus, the Engrish on the cards is awesome.

Did you see that?

Well, this year, I have more students. 20. Most of them are very bright though very few of them are what you'd consider even remotely well-behaved. Out of 20, five gave me gifts. One gave me a set of flavored Lancome lip glosses and a sweet card. Another gave me a giant box of Maxim coffee and some Korean crackers, but no card. One gave me some very nice BB cream foundation that feels like silk on my skin and a card. Another gave me L'Occitane shower gel and lotion. And one gave me a nice fruit cup mix for snack, complete with toothpick for spearing each piece. So yes, of 5 gifts, only 2 with cards.

This year, our room mothers came to teach one of my classes for me. I am busy with all kinds of crap for our upcoming English Village day of hell so the extra 40 minutes of freedom was a nice blessing. When I came to get the kids for lunch, I found they'd made us flower bouquets...out of play dough. Maybe I should smile and say it's the thought that counts. But they were wonky-looking flowers. And I can't take them home. Raelynn will destroy them. So now I have this ugly basket of fake play dough flowers by my desk. They also brought in a giant cake with milk boxes for the kids and some coffee for us teachers. That's right. Instead of making us feel special, they brought us a cake we had to share with the children. I'm not trying to be ungrateful here, and I certainly don't want to come across as someone who just wants lots of gifts or anything, but I found this very depressing. I didn't feel special. Instead of being appreciated, I (and the other teachers as well) were now stuck serving cake to a bunch of screaming and hyperactive children. It was made worse by the fact that another set of parents came in with ice cream FOR THE KIDS. Hello?!? It's Teacher's Day. We already had Children's Day.

I was just astounded by the lack of appreciation. And I'm not so much complaining about the lack of gifts. Of course gifts are nice! Who wouldn't be fucking happy getting presents?!? But it's the lack of cards I find most appalling. Why couldn't the parents have their kids write a short and sweet note to me? Or even to the Korean teacher. I could tell she was disappointed too. Here's a day to celebrate us and all our hard work and we're barely even acknowledged by the parents and students. The school at least gave us a nice treat with a small cash bonus, which was the highlight of my day.

When Raelynn goes off to school, I will make sure that her teachers feel appreciated. If you have kids, wherever you are in this world, I hope you make your child/children's teachers feel special.

I'm not just an ESL kindergarten teacher. I'm a police officer, enforcing our rules and keeping my kids safe. I'm a referee when the children disagree, trying to help them work out their problems together and teaching them important life skills about how to get along with other people. I'm a nurse when they get a small cut or bug bite, lovingly bandaging them up and sending them on their way. I'm an example of etiquette, teaching my kids how to have good manners in and out of the classroom. I'm a comedian that makes that laugh as I do different voices when I read them stories. I'm a dance instructor who prepares them for their graduation performance. I'm MacGyver, fixing their broken hair clips and Pokemon toys.

And I'm so many more things than this. I do it with love, I really do. But in return, I wish to be loved and appreciated too, and for teachers like me, even a small hand-written card will do. It will do just perfectly.

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