Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Power of Appreciation

            My early morning melancholy vanished Friday when I discovered a $25 Panera card on my desk, the latest in a week-long string of presents, which included gum (ironic, since it’s outlawed at school), Krunchers chips, and dark chocolate Raisinets. This was Teacher Appreciation Week. Comparing notes with my coworkers, I learned they’d received cards for Olive Garden, Abrana Marie’s, and the Main Street Grille in Muncy.
            Every day the Parent Teacher Fellowship tailored our individual gifts to our particular tastes, which they’d slyly learned months earlier, going the second mile beyond “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (I can mix metaphors with the best of them.) Each day they included notes of thanks and encouragement along with a scripture verse.
            Adding “aww” to Friday’s surprise were a handful of chocolates and a personal note from a brother and sister in my classes.
            Wednesday, PTF hijacked our afternoon staff meeting and turned it into an ice cream party:  Four fabulous flavors, four varieties of m and m’s, chocolate syrup, a couple of varieties of chips, and jelly beans. (I still can’t fathom the role of the jelly beans, but a few others enjoyed them.)
            To top it off, they cooked and served us lunch Friday, fancy shmancy as my friend Israel Cohen would say. We enjoyed lasagna, chicken divan, tossed salads, garlic bread, and some amazing desserts in a large quiet room far from our students. Not only that, they extended lunch period to an hour, and other PTF members supervised the kids’ lunch, then took them outside and made them play games.
            Everyone participated, except a few high school girls clever enough to forget to bring shorts to change into. (I would have done the same thing forty years ago.)
            One of our school moms read us an encouraging Oswald Chambers devotional before distributing one more treasure. Each teacher received a fabric-trimmed mason jar filled with notes from our students written on pink paper hearts. Some kids signed their names, while others chose anonymity…or so they thought. After grading their homework, quizzes, tests, and exams for months—years for some—I recognize their handwriting.
  • §  You’re the best.
  • §  I enjoyed all the movies, random conversations, goofy assignments and most of all a good opportunity to draw stuff!
  • §  Rock on!
  • §  Mrs. Bro, thank you for being my homeroom teacher for four years.
  • §  Mrs. Bro, thank you for always making me laugh.
  • §  Thanks for putting up with me for so long.
  • §  Mrs. Bro, thanks for always talking to me about stuff and making me laugh and just making school more enjoyable.
  • §  You are such an amazing teacher.
  • §  funny stories ha ha
  • §  Thank you for everything. I’ll miss you when we’re gone!
  • §  Thank you for making me laugh!
  • §  I can’t wait for next year’s Bible class. Thanks so much.
  • §  wet socks ha
            I detect a pattern:  Most of my students come to school just for laughs. That’s okay; my first career choice was standup comic. Teaching provides a captive audience.
            A few years ago when we all took a pay cut to keep the school open, a friend advised me, “You could make more money delivering pizza.” 
            What? And miss all this?
            Besides, God didn’t call me to deliver pizza, although I don’t mind eating quite a bit of it. No, he called me to be involved with this crazy, wonderful group of students, parents, and coworkers called Watsontown Christian Academy.


  1. One of the comments in my jar said "Thanks for making us go home." HMM!

  2. Wonderful! I'm so happy to hear that you are being showered with well-deserved appreciation. The notes are priceless. Keep them and read them on a hair-pulling day!