Thank you, teachers

A graphic shows appreciation for teachers.

Natalie Foote

A graphic shows appreciation for teachers.

The Hummer Staff

Teachers mold the next generation. Doctors, engineers, actors, mathematicians, artists, and more all started in the same place: school. The foundation that teachers provide for students to be successful allows their eager minds to change the world. Without teachers, innovation would be impossible, growth would be unachievable. So, let’s take this week to celebrate everything that teachers have done for us and will continue to do for us.

1. They prepare students for the real world

A common criticism of the public school system is that its curriculum fails to prepare students for the real world. While the validity of the statement is debatable, a key aspect of education does get students ready for what’s out there: teachers. Sure, the curriculum doesn’t tell students when they’ll use the Pythagorean Theorem in real life, but when the teacher brings their class outside and shows them how they can measure a tree while standing on the ground, students see the application that it could have in their life. The same goes for other subjects. Every teacher can offer a unique way to engage in lifelong learning and application of that learning.

But it doesn’t stop at a real-world application of the subject being taught. Teachers go above and beyond to give students the tools they need to be successful in life. While every teacher has a different approach to this tactic, it is often incorporated slyly into learning. Group projects teach collaboration and patience, class discussions aid in communicative skills and confidence, big assignments foster time management abilities. All of which are essential in being successful in not only in their future careers but also in their personal lives.

2. They push students

Students are often frustrated when teachers assign a big workload or a difficult project. It’s understandable given that some students may struggle with a topic or a curriculum. But what’s often overlooked is that that’s the point. Teachers assign more complex tasks in order to give students challenges to overcome. Students are much more likely to learn something if they’ve had to labor over specifications and work out problems for themselves. Sure, a teacher making students write an on-demand essay a week could be considered torture, but if a teacher does this, they’re giving students the practice needed in order to prepare them for harder classes, AP tests, and college. They care about and believe in their students enough to give them a valuable education that shows them they believe they can do better than they might have thought.

3. They are mentors both academically and non-academically.

Teachers do more than lecturing at the whiteboard and assigning textbook problems. They are also willing to help individual students and build a personal connection with each one. While they may not be able to solve personal issues, they make good confidants and can be unbiased and caring listeners. Besides that, a lot of teachers let students meet up to simply have conversations if a student isn’t in the best of moods. Teachers are often willing to talk about subjects unrelated to school: sports, what the cafeteria was serving for lunch, what their weekend was like, shoes, video games, art, and even expired cream cheese. They’re people with interests and hobbies who like having random, wacky conversations.

4. They’re some of the most dedicated people students will ever meet.

Teachers put in hours of work, far more than students typically imagine. Outside of class time,  they make lesson plans, grade assignments, and collaborate with other teachers. In fact, a Scholastic survey found that the average teacher works an average of 10 hours and 40 minutes each day—3 hours and 20 minutes more than the average required work hours for public schools. They cover the curriculum and offer unique insights into the subject and additional information they think is necessary for students. They act as mentors. They try to engage with and include everyone in one way or another and encourage students to step out of their comfort zones. 

5. Teachers are flexible. 

Everyone learns best in a unique way. Some are visual learners, others are auditory learners, still others learn through the application of the concept, and many students understand through examples. No matter the style, teachers offer students a plethora of unique learning experiences. Through different options for assignments, a varied learning environment, and an abundance of resources in different mediums, teachers cater to student needs. In any given class, there exists a way for everyone to learn best, and if not, teachers work individually with students to help them learn in their own ways.

Even when peppered with questions, they patiently explain the answers and relentlessly advertise Beaver Lodge Teacher Access Time as a resource to help students succeed. They create a safe learning environment for students to thrive, even if that comes with obstacles for them to work through. And as schools turned to remote learning, teachers adapted. They’re offering great learning opportunities for students, trying to engage with students who have yet to interact with online material, and are understanding of those who are unable to focus on schoolwork at this time.

Teachers are some of the hardest workers out there. They prepare clueless teenagers to enter the real world: a daunting task, to say the least. Though many times, these incredible people go unrecognized. The foundation of our society, those who build students into who they become, who go above and beyond so they can see successes…they should be appreciated and respected. Teachers, thank you for everything, and happy Teacher Appreciation Week.