At my school, Teacher Appreciation is not a big deal or even really celebrated, at least amongst the families. I have no doubt they would go out of their way to shower us with stuffed animals and coffee cups and hugs and kisses; there is an abundance of love in our community. However, with little financial means, we as a staff do not want to put pressure on the families of our students to spend money on us or feel obligated to do something fancy (trust me, the families at our school know how to throw a good party..I'm amazed by the themes and cakes...the most common question during sharing about birthdays is "What kind of cake will there be? Spiderman? Tres leches?") Anyway, the point here is teaching at my school means not a lot of English speakers, which means not a lot of confidence in volunteering in the classroom (I have some parents who do not read or write in their native language or English), which means perhaps not the same relationship with teachers. There is the utmost respect, but not every teacher speaks Spanish or Mum and can communicate in the same way with parents that other schools that are all one language (like the one I attended growing up) can. (Of course, I find this variety and diversity rich and invaluable...I'd rather not work anywhere else. Oakland is where my heart is.)
I am dedicated to this incredible community, obviously, and my wonderful school and my coworkers. I feel the need to make this post an ode to my coworkers...I don't need the coffee gift cards or extra little stuff--what I need and get to enjoy daily are the fantastic people I work with. My grade level team, Kinder team, and everyone who knows everything about everyone's business and takes an active role in making it better warms my heart everyday. We cry, we laugh, we analyze student work and make each other workstations and run around jabbering about racism and the suffocating system in which we work....our hilariously brilliant (though often troubled) students, and the trials we ourselves go through each day. I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded by these lovely people--so to the teachers at our unique small school in the heart of East Oakland...I deeply, completely, appreciate you and am inspired by you. Thanks for keeping me going each day, when I continue to make missteps and am still figuring out this whole managing behavior thing. You are what teacher appreciation is all about, so I thank you!