Looking back over a career in education, it is clear that the satisfaction of teaching comes in small moments and fleeting interactions. In other professions, satisfaction may derive from landing a sought-after account or closing an important sale or securing a promotion. But for teachers, deep satisfaction comes amid a swirl of lesson planning; grading papers; responding to emails and phone calls; organizing advisory activities; and maintaining relationships with dozens of young people, their parents, and one’s colleagues all at once. I have often wondered what it would be like to work in an office where people speak with their “inside voices” and who walk—don’t run—down the hallways. What would a week in such a place be like?
Some of those satisfying moments as a teacher arrive when least expected. Hearing years later from a parent of a former student, for example, that you were her favorite teacher; attending an alumni reunion and learning that you were instrumental in helping a student feel part of the community; or receiving an email thanking you for pushing a student hard in class. Sometimes it’s simply observing when a student finally “gets it.” There are many of these moments, and they are what fuel teachers’ drive to stay in the profession, even through the inherent challenges.
Few teachers, however, are as fortunate as Bosque’s teachers. Not only do we have hard-working students who excel academically and in the arts, in sports, and in giving back to the community—and who give us hope for a better future—but we are also appreciated by our families in robust ways. Throughout the year, we are surprised by gifts in our mailboxes with small tokens of appreciation; sometimes we find a thank you note placed on our desks; often our parents send kind words via email. These small gestures have the enormous effect of brightening the day and reminding us that we teachers enjoy the luxury of a strong partnership with our parents.
Last week, our wonderful BPA (Bosque Parents’ Association) sponsored the annual Teacher Appreciation Week at Bosque. As always, our parents went far beyond a “token” of appreciation and showered us with gratitude for the entire week! We received homemade pies one day and a breakfast feast another. Perhaps the best part of the week was Wednesday night’s dinner and raffle. What fun it was! Every Bosque employee was treated to a delicious homemade dinner, complete with dessert and libations. There are few, if any, other times during a busy school year in which we have nothing to do, no deadlines to meet, and no agenda to tackle beyond simply enjoying each other’s company. We don’t even have to clean up! Immediately following a sumptuous dinner, we were called by raffle ticket number to choose from a dizzying array of gifts, simply as a way for our parents to show their appreciation of our efforts. In my long career, I have never experienced anything to compare with our BPA’s generosity.
The event, no doubt, took hundreds of hours and the effort of dozens of parents. The best part is that our parents’ heartfelt appreciation is palpable. We were treated to an evening off with colleagues to break bread and to enjoy one another’s company. The tangible gifts were fun, too, but the gift of time together was priceless.