Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Is For Appreciation

" I teach because I'm still inspired by a great teacher that I had when I was a kid. So I get that what we do every single day truly matters." Author Unknown

Over the course of the past few weeks and throughout this week parent volunteers have been working hard to deliver messages of appreciation for teachers throughout our nation. They have worked with vendors to purchase materials, prepared meals or simply stood in front of a group of educators and delivered a heartfelt message of appreciation.  I want to start off this post by taking a minute to thank them for all that they have done and all that they will do to make this a special and memorable week for teachers.

Long before I ever decided to answer the call to become an educator there were teachers and coaches who influenced my life. Their passion, enthusiasm, humor, compassion or the level that they engaged me, impacted my ability to learn. While there were ones that I treasured, there were ones that I would prefer to forget as well. Nevertheless, whether they had a positive impact or a negative one I learned from all of them. They all have influenced the culture that I have created as either a teacher or a coach. I am fortunate to have learned from such a diverse group of individuals and appreciate each of their contributions to my life as an educator.

Twenty five years ago I began a lifetime of work that would involve experiences with thousands of students, summer campers and athletes from the ages of three through twenty one. The memories could fill up volumes of scrapbooks based on my interactions with them over the years. The relationships that I have developed with them in the various capacities continues to positively impact me both professionally and personally. I am grateful for the opportunity to build and maintain these relationships.  I appreciate their hard work,  desire,  curiosity,  passion,  humor and the uniqueness of each and everyone of them.  They continue to define my purpose.

In 1996 we opened the doors to Pond Road Middle School and since that day I have had the honor to work with outstanding educators who are passionately committed to making a difference in the lives of their students. They are innovative, creative, nurturing, dedicated and willing to go the extra mile to help their students learn. I appreciate having the opportunity to learn from them. Their influence has had a tremendous influence on my growth as an educator and a person.

My grade level team of sixth grade teachers, amazes me each and every day.  Watching them collaborate to improve their content area instruction or interact with their students makes them very special.  I continue to witness innovative lesson planning and genuine concern for the success of our students in all facets of their lives.  They continue to give of themselves to contribute to the success of our team as well. They execute various professional responsibilities at a high level that consistently exceeds expectations.  I appreciate their vision and work ethic and am fortunate to be included among them as their teammate. My relationship with each of them is unique and continues to contribute a great deal to the evolution of my role as an educator.

Throughout  the past two years  I have made a commitment to transform my instructional practice.  The transformations have included the building of a Professional Learning Network, the creation of  an educational blog, attending national educational conferences and providing professional development experiences. My building administrators and those at our central office have been extremely supportive of my efforts. I am grateful for their support and appreciate the steps they have taken to help me elevate my practice.

A driving force in my daily routine within the past two years has been my Professional Learning Network which literally extends around the world. Our conversations in small and large groups, the resources and professional development opportunities that you continue to bring to light, the inspiration and validation that you continue to provide, make a major difference in my attitude and the manner in which I approach my craft. My most sincerest thank you for your support. There are not enough words available to properly express my appreciation for the relationships that we have built.

My family continues to be the rock from which I draw the most strength. My wife being a school counselor allows us to have a strong empathetic bond. Our daily conversations really help ease some of  the daily stressors that otherwise I would experience alone. She has read and edited every blog post and has supported me 100 percent throughout my professional transformation. When the entire family arrives at an athletic event that I am coaching or something of an academic nature it always provides an immense source of comfort. The lengths that my family goes to in  order to provide support is something of which I have great appreciation and gratitude.

"It takes a village to raise a child." My wife and I are grateful to the educators that have influenced the growth and development of our children since they entered pre-school many years ago. Undoubtedly they have shaped their thinking and played a significant role in the people that they continue to evolve into. We appreciate the commitment and the sacrifices that they continue to make in this challenging but rewarding profession.

This week will focus on the recognition and appreciation for what we do as teachers.  It means a great deal that people go to great lengths to convey just how much they value what we do. In turn I thought that it would be equally as important for me to take this time to make note all of the things that I appreciateThese influences are not only appreciated but are vital to my success on a personal and professional level.

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