An Education Valentine

Crossposted at RethinkLearningNow

If my own kids are any indicator, schools all across the country are going to be awash in conversation hearts, chocolate, and teeny-tiny cardboard greetings today. We’ve spent the last week painstakingly selecting, addressing, sealing, and candy-fying (a process by which one tapes a small piece of candy onto an even smaller card) around 50 Valentines. We engaged in long debates over the relative merit of the SpongeBob Valentine vs. the Scooby-Doo Valentine as indicators of appropriate degrees of affection. We’ve navigated the treacherous waters of “not enough strawberry candies” and “what happened to that last kitten-with-the-wig card?” To put it mildly, my kids take this Valentine’s Day thing pretty seriously.

This has all left me wondering, though, what kind of Valentines their teachers would receive- besides the obligatory Scooby-Doo or SpongeBob- and what kinds they would really like to receive (besides the power to revise NCLB and a blank check for classroom supplies). It’s been a while since I was in the classroom and even when I was, well, 10th graders aren’t known for spreading the Valentines Day Love to their English teachers (which is probably a good thing, now that I think about it). In the spirit of the day, though, here’s my heartfelt Valentine to the people in schools today.

Dear Teacher, Principal, Paraprofessional, Tutor, Nurse, Counselor, Secretary, Support Person, or Volunteer:

Thank you. We all know that you don’t get enough time, respect, or money for doing what you do, but I want to go on record as saying “thank you” for showing up every day and doing your best for both my kids and for kids I’ll never know. Thank you for working late hours and then staying up even later worrying about what you didn’t get done. Thanks for paying attention to not only the academic issues in your classroom, but also to the ever-changing social and emotional soap operas playing out in the lunch room and the playground and the hallways. Thanks for noticing when a kid is hungry, cold or worried and for taking the time to get him fed, to find her a coat, or to give him a quick reassurance that things will be okay. Thanks for finding the energy day after day to not just teach our kids, but to love them.

I, for one, think you’re pretty swell.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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