Celebrating Our Lower School Teachers

Every student is special, and you have to give them your best, and you hope they will carry it with them.” – Barbara Howard, Abbott Elementary

If you would like a lens into the life of a teacher, I encourage you to watch a season of Abbott Elementary. It is a show about a Philadelphia elementary school and follows the lives of teachers inside and outside of the classroom. As soon as I watched the first episode, I was shouting, “That happened at school just last week,” and was laughing hysterically. Being a teacher presents unique situations each new day, and this show captures what life is often like for a teacher.

The role of a teacher is multi-faceted. It is so much more than researching, developing, and delivering curriculum. Teachers take on the role of counselor, recess referee, social director, advocate, communicator, planner, maintenance attendant, snack deliverer, helper, and field trip coordinator. Teachers arrive early and they work late. They collect data about student progress, and craft amazing lessons to create pathways for learning. They teach, reteach, and sometimes teach a lesson a third time if a student might benefit from it. Communication with parents is a large part of their day—to praise students and also work alongside parents to support their children through the twists and turns of each developmental stage. Compared to other professions, teachers are historically underpaid, but those who love being teachers continue to surround themselves with young children, work tirelessly to create magical moments for learning, and strive to become better at the craft of teaching.

At Colorado Academy, I have a front-row seat to watch teachers shine and impact the lives of young children from Pre-K to Grade 5. Here are just a few moments of greatness that I have witnessed in recent months:

  • A teacher purchased snow boots and a coat for a student. When the student opened their locker and noticed that new snow items had just appeared for them, the student cheered with delight. Snowy recess and sledding were magical for this student on a Tuesday.
  • On Grandparents & Special Friends Day, a student’s grandparent was unable to attend the day’s events at the last minute, and a specialist teacher jumped right in to be a special friend. The student and the teacher had the best day together.
  • A student came running into my office, shouting, “Mrs. Crabtree, I learned to read.” As I saw the glimmer in their eye, I said, “How did that happen?” And the student shouted, “My teacher taught me. She’s the best reading teacher ever!” We spent the next thirty minutes reading together.
  • Recess is always a high-energy and sometimes competitive time. Teachers are on duty every day to supervise students and assist with any issue that develops. I have the pleasure of having my office window face the recess yard. I see it every day, teachers joining a fun (and sometimes wild and crazy) foursquare game or helping friends navigate a social conflict. They take the time to untangle whatever has happened and guide students to resolve the issue at hand.
  • I heard crying getting louder and louder as it approached my office. A student had a very wiggly tooth and was afraid it would hurt to pull it. I watched as the school nurse made “pulling a tooth” into a wonderful game. Within four minutes, the tooth was out and the student was laughing, dancing all around, and showing us the bloody tooth with delight.

These are just a few scenes from the Lower School. Every day is full of moments where teachers are working to support, love, and enrich the lives of young children.

I am thankful for the teachers who guided me along the way and for the educators I have learned from in my 33-year career. Please join me in celebrating ALL the teachers and the amazing roles they play every day, especially our extraordinary teachers at Colorado Academy’s Lower School.