Heroes In Disguise

Heroes In Disguise

Michelle Narain, Reporter

The tradition of Teacher Appreciation Week all started when Mattye Whyte Woodridge began pushing political and educational leaders for the need to honor educators nationally. Woodbridge wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt who urged Congress to announce a National Teacher Day in 1980. National Teachers Day has evolved into a weeklong celebration that honors teachers. Each country has changed the way they celebrate their teachers to fit their culture and traditions.  Students in the United States often show their gratitude to their teachers with gifts or cards, and students is Mexico traditionally organize cultural events that show the importance of the teachers. Teacher Appreciation Week is a worldwide tradition that takes place on the first full week of May (May 5-9) and shows our educators how much of a difference they make.

At Columbine Elementary parents express their appreciation for the teachers by providing dinners for the staff during fall and spring parent-teacher conferences, providing breakfasts, lunches, and snacks to the staff throughout the school year, and organizing and delivering thank you cards. Columbine’s principle Veronica Wolken believes “appreciation represents a general sense of thankfulness, while gratitude is an acute emotion”, and that, “this kind of thing can never substitute for spontaneous, heartfelt, personal expressions of genuine gratitude”. Mrs. Wolken went on to say that, “We all remember being on the receiving end of gratitude.  A simple handshake and a few words send an amazingly powerful message, person to person, heart to heart.  A written note captures it for the future (teachers save these and read them over and over).   When a grateful person so desires, a small gift as a token becomes a lovely surprise.  Any words or actions that come from a heart captured by gratitude go a long way in letting our staff know that their selfless work truly matters.”

Gateway Elementary will be showing their gratitude through Staff Appreciation Week (May 5-9) which is supported by their parent group called GIVE. Mrs. Waddell, the principle of Gateway, said “we will be doing something special each day for our wonderful staff like: massages, special gifts, and breakfast at the Swiss Chalet.” In addition to the week of celebration, teachers and staff will also be receiving cards of appreciation from the students. Mrs. Waddell believes appreciation week is a huge blessing, “we feel pampered all week.  This is an extremely busy time of the year and the extra care is much appreciated! The cards from the students and families are the most meaningful.” She also thinks dedicating a whole week to showing gratitude to their teachers is a positive thing for students, “this allows the children an opportunity to show their gratitude in a genuine manner.” As a closing statement Mrs. Waddell added “I have deep gratitude for our Gateway families and community at large throughout the whole year.  People are very generous with us in regards to their volunteer time and resources. They support us in so many ways.  While Staff Appreciation week is very special and we love all the thoughtful gifts, it’s all the positive messages from families on a daily basis that are a blessing.”

Summit Elementary will have several events and activities, planned by PTSO and STUCO, taking place throughout Teacher Appreciation to honor their staff. Summit’s principle Katie Rexford believes “it is great to take time and recognize teachers for all they do!” Ms. Rexford also added that she thinks it is a good practice for students (and anyone) to be grateful and show gratitude for another person’s work and effort. Appreciation and respect for teachers today is imperative in our society today and Ms. Rexford thinks “the teachers at Summit know that they are appreciated. I do not think anyone could be over appreciated, so I am glad we make a point to show our gratitude.” In closing Ms. Rexford added “Woodland Park is a wonderful place to work. Students and staff show their appreciation for one another on a regular basis and it is part of what makes this such a positive and healthy environment.”

As a result of the busy year coming to a close many teachers can feel over worked. It’s important to show the teachers in our community how much they are appreciated and how much they have impacted students’ lives. It is of the up most importance that our educators and staff of our schools feel appreciated everyday they come to work. Each school in the Woodland Park School District has strived and succeeded in maintaining a feeling of genuine gratitude to each and every staff member. Our community’s schools will be showing their gratitude to their teachers and staff in their own ways, but our community has also shown its support of our educators through organizing Teacher Appreciation Days. Teacher Appreciation Days took place April 26 and 27 at the Dinosaur Resource Center. Teacher Appreciation week is not to force students into showing gratitude, but it is to teach them that their appreciation for their teacher should come naturally and be done of their own free will. The tradition of Teacher Appreciation week has changed over time. It used to just be a time to give teachers presents or a card, but over time students have been taught that is much more than buying a gift for their teacher. Today’s teacher Appreciation Week shows students how hard their teachers work, how much they sacrifice, and that teachers shouldn’t be shown gratitude only one week a year but constantly. Our schools, students and community all sincerely appreciate our genuine and dedicated educators who work hard every day to influence their students in a positive way.