Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
This morning, I woke up to a tweet from a former student. A shout-out to her teacher, “who introduced me to so many unforgettable books & made me feel seen & as though I had something to offer.” Words that validate my life choices; I’m grateful she took the time to tell me.
Your favorite teacher stays with you
I had one of those teachers, too. Her name was Lenore Kaufman. She was my assistant teacher in 2nd grade, 1973, when I arrived in a new school fresh off my parents’ divorce and seven different homes over the course of the previous year. She was tall, with long dark brown hair that she had a habit of twisting back and tucking inside her sweater. She was my head teacher in 4th and 5th grades.
I remember writing myths with Lenore, and studying the Iroquois, a research project on the abolitionists. I remember her reading aloud to us every day -- she loved E.L. Konigsberg -- and those books made me a reader. Mostly, I remember how she made me feel safe. It was in Lenore’s class that I decided to become a teacher.
Years later, I was asked to join the Board at the school where Lenore had been my teacher. The bonus? Lenore was also invited. At our first meeting, I told her how much she had meant to me, that I became an educator because of her, and that her classroom was a respite for me in a tumultuous childhood. Less than a year later, she was gone.
This Teacher Appreciation Week, thank a teacher who made a difference to you. Email, Facebook, Twitter, even snail mail! Do it before they’re gone. Trust me, it means the world. If you’re looking for resources for celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week, we’ve got some here. And if you’re a teacher, thank you 🙏