Thank you!

It’s that time of the year again – the end of another school year.  This one is extra special, though, because I have a son graduating. Even though this is my fourth (but not last) child to graduate from high school, I feel especially grateful this year for all the love and support my son has received throughout his years in public schools.

I am grateful for the teachers who took to heart his opportunity for success. The coaches who not only taught him different lessons, but also helped him have fun. His classmates who stood by him through thick and thin in our small community in southwestern Ohio.

This thankfulness is heightened by the extra support my son received while struggling with an illness. It’s amplified by what I’ve witnessed in classrooms across the state and what I’ve read in news stories throughout the year highlighting the heroic deeds of teachers and other school personnel who sacrificed themselves to protect their students. So today, I just want to say Thank You!

  • Thank you for the hours you put in preparing lessons for our children.
  • Thank you for continuing to update your skills and knowledge.
  • Thank you for always rising to the challenges of changing standards and higher expectations.
  • Thank you for greeting our children with a smile on your face even on those mornings when everything else has gone wrong.
  • Thank you for wiping noses, tying shoes, taking temperatures, and magically healing upset stomachs.
  • Thank you for teaching our children lessons above and beyond the curriculum such as sharing, getting along with others, taking turns, having pride in their work, and so many other social skills.
  • Thank you for understanding that sometimes when you are dealing with an illness, the schoolwork might take a little bit longer to comprehend.
  • Thank you for offering extra help and for sometimes demanding that our children show up for the extra help whether they want to or not.
  • Thank you for helping our children see a future they might not have seen for themselves then showing them the path for getting there.
  • Thank you for saying, “You can do it” even when our children are convinced that they can’t.
  • Thank you for putting aside everything else to write that last minute letter of recommendation that is due tomorrow.
  • Thank you for being at the school at 6 a.m. or still being there at 6 p.m. even though the school day is 7:30 – 2:30 because you need that time to get ready for the next day’s lessons.
  • Thank you for planning extra events like Father/Daughter dances and family nights so that our kids can have something special to look forward to.
  • Thank you for taking extra time to collaborate with your colleagues to analyze data and share best practices to ensure that you are giving our children the best.
  • Thank you for still loving the children and for still loving the profession even though you often hate the changes that are being forced on you.
  • Thanks for not giving up!
  • Thank you to our bus drivers for getting our children safely to and from school every single day.
  • Thank you to our secretaries who take care of every imaginable problem under the sun and never stop moving from the time they get to work until the time they leave.
  • Thank you to our paraprofessionals who enhance the learning environments in our classrooms.
  • Thank you to the higher ed staff and personnel who work hard every day to make sure our children have yet more opportunities in their lives.
  • Thank you to our social services members who work year-round to try and give our children stable home environments so that they are ready to learn when they get to school.

Thanks most of all to all of you who treat the children we serve in our careers as though they are your own children – for fighting off killers, for throwing your bodies over children during a hurricane or tornado, for buying a pair of shoes for an underprivileged child, for bringing extra supplies to school for those students who can’t afford them, for giving a hug when a parent dies, for giving a listening ear when a child is depressed, for holding fundraisers for families with extreme medical expenses, for sitting with a child in the hospital, for inspiring children to dream.

The list is endless. Every day a teacher, a bus driver, a principal, a secretary, a superintendent, a custodian, a paraprofessional somewhere goes above and beyond what a paycheck demands to help our children. We often don’t really know which of the kindnesses reaches a child, and maybe changes his or her life just a bit. We do know it happens. We can see it in their faces. Or when years later they take the opportunity to thank us, whether publicly or privately. For all you do, we can never thank you enough.

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