We’re coming up on one of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving. It’s a favorite of mine because it reminds me of the importance of reflecting on life and thanking those who make a difference. Professionally, I am fortunate to work in a school that offers many reasons to be optimistic about teaching and learning. Here are some of the things I am thankful for…
…kindergarten teachers who are patient, kind, and caring. School culture begins in kindergarten. Our kindergarten teachers are so good, they make children and parents feel welcome. They assure parents that their children are in good hands. Children never forget their first teacher, ours make sure that this is true by taking care of the whole child.
…first grade teachers who embrace the need to be the best literacy teachers they can be. They are willing to collaborate, be observed, observe others, and attend professional development opportunities outside of the school day to hone their craft. They laugh a lot and lean on each other when things get tough. They demonstrate an undying enthusiasm for teaching.
…second grade teachers who work like a well-oiled machine. They support each other in every way, personally and professionally. They offer classrooms that are dynamic and active. Our second grade teachers are independent thinkers who accept new ideas and immediately figure out how to integrate change in their classrooms.
…third grade teachers who always participate enthusiastically in school spirit events. On any given day you can find them dressed as M & Ms, wearing their school spirit shirts, in Ravens gear, or dressed as green eggs and ham on Read Across America Day. They look for opportunities to promote project-based learning with their students because they know it enhances engagement.
…fourth grade teachers who spend extra time every year planning for their overnight trip to the local outdoor education center. Members of the fourth grade team have raised terrapins, organized the annual talent show, and volunteer whenever their colleagues need their help. They foster relationships with students and families that last for years.
…fifth grade teachers who take it as a personal responsibility to prepare their students for middle school. They promote STEM, a love for history, and bake cookies for the staff just at the right time. Our fifth grade teachers organize the annual drown-proofing field trip and take their students to Philadelphia every year. They give their students a final year of elementary school that they will never forget.
…cultural arts teachers who instill a love for music, art, movement, and literature. This group reminds us that learning doesn’t just take place in the classroom. They expose our students to new worlds that many would not see otherwise.
…special education teachers, speech pathologists, school psychologists, and occupational therapists who complete mounds of paperwork while remembering that the students they support are much more important. They work long hours and are often under-appreciated for the work they do. They advocate for the needs of their students and foster relationships with families in order to ensure that progress is made for all students.
…a school counselor who supports the social emotional learning of our students. She supports families who need more than the school can provide by connecting them to social agencies and outside resources.
…resource teachers like Right Start Advisors who help new teachers succeed, ELL teachers who bridge the language gap for students, and support personnel who make sure technology does what it’s supposed to do, enhance learning.
…reading teachers who are consummate professionals. They constantly work to support classroom teachers with the best and most effective strategies for teaching reading.
…teaching assistants who are flexible and willing to do whatever it takes to help students succeed.
…health room staff who take care of so many needs beyond just scratches and sniffles.
…custodians and cafeteria workers who quietly go about their work with little attention or recognition, yet make a difference to the entire school community.
…secretaries who serve parents, students, and staff members every day with a smile. They are literally the face of the school for many visitors and their efforts tell parents that they are in a safe, caring place.
…our assistant principal who rarely sits still and supports positive behaviors throughout the building by developing a rapport with students, staff, and parents.
I am one lucky principal. I have so much to be thankful for. Teaching is tough. I’m not sure that the average person understands all that goes on in an elementary school on any given day. I do, and I hope my staff knows that their efforts do not go unnoticed. I am proud to be their principal.