National Teacher Appreciation Day—which is coming up soon—just upped its relevance score. With the arrival of COVID-19, the work of teachers at Colorado Academy is garnering praise for how faculty have tackled the difficult and unwieldy task of teaching and delivering educational content online to some 1,000 students, ages 4 to 18, most of that synchronous and in real time. There is no better time to observe the Tuesday, May 5 day of appreciation to thank and salute educators.
In a collection of national education surveys conducted, even before COVID-19, by the ING Foundation, the National Center for Education Statistics, and The Harris Poll, here is what people say about teachers:
54 percent of students say a teacher has helped them during a difficult time.
75 percent of students say teachers are mentors and role models.
80 percent of students say a teacher has encouraged them to follow their dreams.
89 percent of people believe teachers have a really hard job.
The job just got harder
That hard job just got a lot harder during the chaotic landscape of COVID-19. The pandemic has added even more appreciation for teachers, many who are doing just what parents are doing: working from home, trying to help their own children, cooking, cleaning, and caring for other family members, preparing for the next day, only to do it all over again.
Wrote one CA parent, “I truly can’t imagine all the work and re-thinking that has gone into this change for every teacher at CA. Your business, teaching, and extracurricular responses go above and beyond. I am humbled by how deeply you all have dug in to provide high quality engagement.…”
And another, “It is so clear that there is so much consideration, effort, and capability going into current learning and future planning by CA teachers and administrators during these unprecedented times.”
And still another, “The way that the learning environment has been transformed virtually overnight is nothing short of miraculous. I watch in awe as my kids connect with their teachers and friends and capture absolute learning and value from their Zoom experiences daily. The teachers have clearly invested so much energy and thought into their work, and I can feel the benefit of that flowing into my children on a daily basis.”
And finally, “You make it special and make them feel important and heard…. You made this remote learning fun and engaging…. Bravo, and thank you for what you are creating—beautiful, thoughtful, and determined young learners.”
Tell them how you feel
While many people share those sentiments, the same national surveys indicate that 87 percent of people say they wish they had told their best teachers how much they appreciated their efforts.
Working with the Parent Association, CA has established a way for parents, students, alumni, and others to do just that. All constituents were invited to send their salutes to teachers. The email messages are being delivered to current and former faculty. In recognition of National Teacher Appreciation Day, CA is still collecting notes of appreciation at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are just a couple of the early submissions:
“We think of you all often, always in gratitude, for the beautiful start you gave to our son as you taught him! By providing him the loving care, fun and safe days, and wonderful education, you were very instrumental and important in setting his foundation for future success. We had complete confidence in all of you and knew every day when we brought him to you, he couldn’t be in better hands.”
“To all of the teachers at Colorado Academy—we want to express our appreciation as grandparents of four children currently attending CA and parents of two alumni. We knew that CA would step up to the challenge, and you have far surpassed our greatest hopes, educating our grandchildren during this unprecedented lapse in life as we know it.”
These salutes are testament to one final survey result worth sharing: 98 percent of people believe that a good teacher can change the course of a student’s life.