Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Last Fall, this video, in which Lily Eskelsen Garcia explains ALL that teachers do each day, went viral.

… And it’s true! Many teachers are caregivers, primary emotional support providers, instructional experts, snack-givers, referees, relationship-builders, and much more. Teachers, thank you for all that you do to promote confidence and help students find  a sense of community in your classes.

We know that inclusion works in the classroom. We know that our students are brilliant and kind, and they are so keep to pick up on the language we use and the behaviors we model in our classrooms. This includes appreciation of others and flexibility to meet others’ needs. So many amazing inclusion teachers are doing this on a regular basis. Students in their inclusive classrooms learn to respect each other, to celebrate each other, to strive to understand each other. Inclusion is important for developing strong communities who support one another.

It’s important, and it’s rewarding. But it’s not always easy. We need to work to shift the paradigms and help our colleagues, students, and administrators to see ability over disability, to appreciate the talents in others. That is why weeks like this are important. Kids, parents, and administrators remind us that we are appreciated, that this work is important, that we are making an impact.

Even though teaching is grueling and, at times, frustrating, it is the BEST job in the world. I am so appreciative to be able to work with enlightening, open-minded, hilarious, and kind young people who are going to shape our world’s future. To show you all how lucky I truly am, I’d like to share with you an experience I had yesterday.

Due to standardized testing in high school, middle schoolers (the students I teach) had the day off from school yesterday. So I decided to plan a community service trip with my students to give back to our community! We went to the elementary school down the street and engaged in three projects: organizing books in the library, reading to young children, and planting flowers in a long-overgrown garden plot. A few snapshots from the day:

  • One student exclaiming, “This is so fun! I LOVE helping people!”
  • Another student asking if she can come again every week to help with the library “because it’s a mess in here, and I know I can help!”
  • A group of girls asking if they could stay an extra hour to keep reading in the Kindergarten classroom.

Our service trip was a great reminder that service to others is FUN and REWARDING! Though teaching is definitely an underappreciated and underpaid profession, it is also a true honor to serve children and their families every single day. Teachers: thank you, thank you, thank you for all that you do in shaping our future leaders! And make sure you take time to enjoy these precious moments of seeing them becoming kind, passionate, and thoughtful young adults– you have a huge part in this process!

–Written by Elise Hopkins, KIT Blog Editor and Special Education Teacher

Kids Included Together (KIT) is a non-profit located in San Diego, CA and Washington, DC. We help make the world a more inclusive place by providing live and online training to people who work with kids. We teach strategies, accommodations and best practices to include kids with and without disabilities in before & after school programs. Inclusive environments create stronger communities. Learn more about our work at www.KITonline.org.

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