My husband and I have talks ALL the time about money. It’s usually like this:
Him: We don’t have any money.
Me: Um, ok. Sorry.
It’s usually my fault. But also…
The other day, my husband asked me if I could stop at the grocery store and pick up a few supplies he needed for a school event.
The next night, he told me he needed to run to the store to get candy for his classroom.
Last week, he bought us ink for our printer, but we never print anything except for things for school.
He stopped at the gas station today to get a soda and candy bar for a struggling kid-he had made a bet with him and lost (which was good-he wanted the kid to win because it meant he got his work done) and picked it up on his way in.
And you know what, you guys? Not a single person said thank you.
Yesterday, at Target, I bought 5 new boxes of pencils because we weren’t going to make it to the end of the year.
And no one said thank you.
This year, I had 4th and 5th grade students come in my room every Wednesday to write their novels. I gave up my prep-time every single Wednesday. Then my co-worker and I threw them a party to read their stories and bought them pizza
And I didn’t do it for the thank you.
Along with a co-worker, I planned, auditioned, and will run a talent show for my entire elementary school, like I have done for a million years. I gave up tons of my prep-time (which is already non-existent because of meetings) to plan, and worked on it at home as well.
And besides a few co-workers and my boss, no one said thank you.
This year I have bought deodorant, snacks, toothbrushes and toothpaste, a pair of gym shoes, and schools supplies for my students.
Nope, not a thank you.
This school year I gave a student the Heimlich.
(I actually got a thank-you card for this from the superintendent, but you know, otherwise, no thank-you)
I bought fidgets for my classroom, and parents wondered if I could get different ones. I got asked why the writing party was so short. I was asked, could I order a separate pizza for their kid who prefers thin crust (um, no). I got asked if their kid was a great speller, why didn’t they make the spelling bee?
And most of this? Most of it NO ONE KNEW ABOUT. And that, my friends, is the way we like it. This is not just me-this is every teacher in my entire school. This is every teacher in your child’s school, too. I mean, sure, it’s nice to be recognized. But, that’s not why we do it.
You guys: teachers don’t do this job for the thanks.
We don’t do this job for the recognition. We don’t do it to be thanked, or rewarded, or applauded. My principal, and the parents in my classroom-they do an amazing job letting me do that they appreciate me. I like that. But it’s still not why I do it.
A true teacher knows that their job is to inspire, and motivate. We know that we are certainly not perfect, and we are definitely only human, but we do whatever we can to help kids. We LOVE kids. It’s so much more than curriculum and labels and data and meetings.
What we know is that these are children’s lives that we are fighting for. And so we don’t need them to thank us. We don’t even need their parents to thank us. We don’t need other teachers or administrators to notice us and recognize our efforts.
We don’t need that, because we see it right there in the children’s eyes.
Their grateful hearts are hungry for knowledge, and love, and understanding. They are excited for enrichment and support and scaffolding. They may never say any of it with words, but we know it’s there. And that?
That is enough.
Sometimes I get down. Sometimes I wonder why in the world I do it all. I know I’m not alone, though-I know that in every house in my neighborhood, people are busting tail, working hard to finish something that they will never, ever be thanked for. Teachers are the tip of the iceberg.
There are people EVERYWHERE giving everything they’ve got, and getting practically nothing in return.
But, you know what? This is how we need to live our lives. We need to do what we know is good and right and true, even when people don’t deserve it sometimes. We do it, even though people aren’t grateful. We do it anyway. We do stuff for people that they wouldn’t do for us. We do things for those who will never, ever be able to repay us, or even thank us.
We’ve got this. Keep on keepin’ on, yo.
p.s. I mean, also, you should probably go write a thank-you card or an e-mail to somebody who is super awesome, just because now it’s on your mind that nobody gets thanked for anything.