Teacher Appreciation Week: More than saying “thanks”

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appreciation: noun. a feeling of being grateful for something. an ability to understand the worth, quality, or importance of something.
Synonyms: valuing, treasuring, admiration, respect, regard, esteem, high opinion

“Appreciation” might seem like a simple word, but it has quite a complex meaning that goes beyond simply giving thanks.  Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines appreciation as “being grateful for something.”  Classroom teachers certainly deserve our gratitude.  But it goes further; real appreciation indicates “an ability to understand the worth, quality, or importance of something.”

Texas Aspires Foundation is committed to expressing our gratitude to teachers by recognizing their worth.  That means supporting policies that value their contributions, from increased teacher pay to improved classroom supports to leadership models that develop talent.  It also means listening and supporting their profession in our work.  This priority was the genesis of our Educator Board, a group of talented teachers from across the state with a heart for students and a passion for building the profession.

We know that educators matter.  They matter in the classroom where they are working every day to increase the academic and life outcomes of their students.  And they should matter in policymaking.

Our Educator Board members are rock stars in the classroom.  They are also committed to making a difference outside the walls of their own classroom and school.  They have a classroom record that demonstrates a commitment to ensuring that all students succeed.  And they believe that policy and advocacy can be effective tools to transform our education system, especially when they have a classroom-informed perspective.

This week, you will hear from several of them what it means to be appreciated in their work and supported in their professional journey.  You will hear more from them in the coming weeks and months, too, as they bring their classroom experiences to the policymaking process ahead of the 86th legislative session.

The best way to show appreciation to someone is to value their contributions.  Even more importantly, value their voice.  Not just today or this week.  Every day.

So, buy the teacher in your life an apple. Or better yet, a Starbucks gift card.  But more importantly, listen to them as they share stories about their students and classrooms.  And commit to elevating their voices and experiences. That’s the true meaning of appreciation.

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