This past week was Teacher Appreciation Week.  I noticed on social media that many teachers requested that their students and former students share memories of their time in the teacher’s class.  That is one of the real joys of a teacher’s life - to hear from former students and to relive those wonderful memories.  That’s truly the best gift a teacher ever receives. 

The PTA’s theme for Teacher Appreciation Week was “Teachers Are Out of This World!”  It feels a bit like patting myself on the back, but I can only agree with this theme. 

Teachers put their heart and soul into what they do, and they make a huge difference in the lives of their students, their students’ families, and their communities.  Teachers are some of the most committed professionals you will ever encounter.

As I was considering what, in my opinion, makeS teachers special, I began thinking about the characteristics of exceptional teachers.  I developed a small list that I’d like to share with you.

 Teachers…  Give selflessly.  Tell the best stories.   Know the best books.   See the beauty others miss.  Are creative problem solvers.  Keep up the search until they find the solution.  Don’t see the use in complaining, or boasting, or bragging.  Are there every day.  Are expert at observing.  Capture moments of greatness.  Always have a hug on hand.  Live service values every day - set the example.  Are keepers of the light in children’s eyes.  Reserve judgement.  Recognize the promise of every future adult. 

Understand that repetition is part of learning.  Set minds free.  Sow seeds of greatness.  Listen, listen, listen.  Encourage, encourage, encourage.  Set minds free to explore and learn.  Shape the world by shaping lives.  And most of all, teachers love, love, love.

These men and women have a calling.  They devote themselves to fostering growth and learning in our children.  They give guidance, and teach by example.  They spend countless hours outside their work day studying and preparing lessons that will be relevant and meaningful to their students.  They sponsor clubs and activities. 

They support their students by attending athletic events, plays, art exhibits, ceremonies for Scouts, church programs, and other events that are important to the student.  I speak from personal experience when I tell you that it truly touches a teacher when one of their kids wants them to be present at an occasion or event that means a great deal to them.  Again, teachers love, love, love.

Last week did you find yourself thinking about a teacher (or teachers) that touched your life?  I certainly did.  I had so many great teachers.  They not only taught me academics, they taught me to trust myself, to be self-confident, to keep reaching higher and farther than I thought I could.  They taught me about service in school and community.  They taught me that rules apply in school and in life.  They showed me unconditional caring and acceptance.

Teachers are truly “out of this world”, and not just during Teacher Appreciation Week.

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