Many of the School-Community Councils at the various schools in Weyburn and area will be doing some activities next week to show appreciation to the teaching staff of those schools.
The “Teacher Appreciation Week” is a good thing to have, but in some ways it doesn’t really go far enough to show these professionals the appreciation that is due them for the job they do.
Teachers these days go far and beyond the role of just passing on facts and figures of math, reading and writing, history and so on — but in many ways they are also mentors, coaches, even friends at times; they help shape the young people in their class, teach them to work together and to respect each other, and help them develop character and integrity.
There are many challenges facing teachers today that weren’t seen very often, or at all, by teachers of earlier generations; challenges sometimes brought by mixed and blended families, by families mid-transition and therefore facing inner turmoil and conflict, and by social issues where children are left on the outside looking in.
There are “latchkey” kids, and ones who are involved in everything related to sports; there are kids with learning disabilities, and ones with physical disabilities, and some of these have aides to help them while some don’t.
On top of the challenges of reaching all of these children in one classroom, each school also tries to have extra-curricular activities like sports teams and activities like clubs, to expose kids to interests like the performing arts, cooking, visual arts and so on. It is often teachers who ensure that these after-school and noon-hour clubs are held and the children looked after.
There are professional development days provided for teachers throughout the school year, and parents sometimes don’t understand how important these days are; while the kids are off, the teachers are learning about issues or techniques that can help them in the classroom and be better able to reach their child, or deal with issues that may affect their child.
Often it is the teachers who inspire their students to realize their dreams and to develop their talents as they see their potential and abilities in the classroom.
As these children grow up, they are our future leaders, doctors, lawyers, professionals, mothers and fathers of the next generation — so we do indeed owe our teachers a debt of gratitude.