I am now the proud owner of a snowman spoon holder, several pictures, a pink, batman-beaded bracelet that says “Thanks for being my superhero”, and several things that seemed edible – but who really knows. It is teacher appreciation week, even in the after-school programs.
It’s strange – but I don’t think there was such a thing as teacher appreciation day, or week, or even teacher of the year..although, back in my school days, I didn’t really pay much attention to teacher things, so I could be wrong. But, because of how we were raised, if we had extra apples or oranges, one found its way to a big person’s desk. If we passed pretty flowers on a tree or in a garden, they might have ended up on another teacher’s desk. A simple card made out of colored construction paper and crayon or a letter written in pencil and splashed in tears. A Valentine candy heart was enough to bring a smile to both our faces.
Nice thing about small town was that our teachers were generally involved in more than just our school lives. They read us stories in the morning – usually Bible stories – prayed with us – led us in the pledge, became our Sunday school teachers, our church choir directors, our boy/girl scout leaders, our coaches, our advisors, our safety patrol leaders, honor society leaders, our – extended family.
One of my “extended family” danced into heaven this past year to join her husband who had also been a part of my extended family since he was in the church choir and a drummer for every minstrel I can remember. I didn’t have her as a “school” teacher, but she still touched my life with hers. Over the years, we would re-connect, visit in the grocery aisle or at the annual street fair and exchange Christmas cards. Still my teacher – still inspiring – still sharing her light with her student.
“Walk as children of light, for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.”~Ep 5:9
As I look at the pictures of these special people from my own student days, I see the fruits of the spirit. Love wasn’t a noun – it was a verb. I know we say that teachers don’t get paid much, but back in the day – they made even less and did much more. (I know because my beginning salary was $7,600 in C-bus public schools, and my mom thought that was a fortune) As hard as I worked, I know I never did as much as they did, but I tried to give my students as much as they gave me.
I am thankful that G-d put each and every one of these teachers on my life path. In their own way, they helped shape the person I have become. It is the little things – more than the paycheck – more than the things that can be bought. It is the fruits of the spirit offered. It is the fruits of the spirit accepted and passed on to the next generation.