About Lori H Rice

Lori Rice is a fourth-grade teacher at West Elementary in Wamego, Kansas, who has taught K-2 reading as well as kindergarten, first grade and fourth grade since 1996. She has a passion for creativity, learning, questioning and the whole child. Her classroom is a place of acceptance and celebrating differences.

My kids have had wonderful teachers, mediocre teachers, and teachers I did not agree with.  Teacher Appreciation week transcends this, however, and is a time to thank all teachers for their work in one of the most important profession we have in our society today.

Everyday teachers make their way into classrooms around the United States to do the job of preparing our future.  They take on the role of educator, councilor, mother, father, and mentor.  They offer encouragement, motivation, opportunities, praise, and advice.  They provide love, protection, boundaries, supplies, food, and hope.  It’s not about prestige, fame, money or privileges.  Teaching comes from the heart and is given to all children in classrooms every day. Teachers make a difference.

Teachers are not perfect.  Teachers have good days and bad days.  They learn from their mistakes and not all teachers are fantastic.  But teachers work in an ever-changing environment with a moving target.  You have known teachers that were experienced, gifted, and in the perfect profession for them.  You have known teachers who needed understanding, assistance, and were still learning this difficult profession.   I believe, however, that all teachers do the best they can in the situation they are in with the information they have.  They deserve respect that is not given, they deserve support that is lacking, and they deserve to hear, “Thank you!”

So it’s their job, yes; but teachers do this job giving all of themselves to students.  Teachers lead a mismatched classroom of 20+ students seeing them as individuals.  They provide challenges for the high students and take extra time to reteach others.  They listen to stories of hardships at home.  They come in early to make a connection with the quiet student in the back of the room.  They ask about and celebrate weekends and sports and family changes.  They attend programs and sporting events.  They protect the shy student from being bullied and guide the energetic student to find ways to stay on task.  They organize the impossible, provide supplies for everyone, smile when they want to stop and take a break.  They grade projects, use data to know when to move students farther and when to review; they communicate with parents, document evidence of learning, read novels for reading groups, and collaborate as well as continue their own education.  Their “job” is never done and they don’t ever stop.  Your children are always in their hearts.

Teacher Appreciation week is a mere five days out of the 170+ day school year.  Teacher’s reflect on their students’ progress and find compliments and positive comments to share with them each day.  This week is about reflection.  What has your child’s teacher done that has had a positive impact this year?   Families are busy today.  Teachers are too.  Take a few minutes out of your week and find a way to thank the person who spends each day with your child.  Thank them for finding patience and positive thoughts and courage and hope in a system that is scrutinized and blamed daily.  Teacher’s leave the negativity of the world at their door and provide positive environment’s for our children to develop, risk, learn, grow.  Thank them this week.  “A defining condition of being human is that we have to understand the meaning of our experience.”  —Jack Mezirow  Your simple thank you provides meaning.  What will you do this week to say thank you?

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