It is the end of the school year here in Australia and like every year, my kids say goodbye to some wonderful teachers and I get sentimental. Noff (my youngest) is finishing primary school and will be going into high school next year, so we had to say goodbye to quite a few teachers.
As we were making up the end of year gifts, we made a list of all the teachers Noff has had in the last 8 years, and examined their contributions to her life and to ours, her family. Noff had about six teachers she said she really liked. Of those six, two made a significant impact on her life and one was such a fantastic teacher, Noff will remember her forever. She is what you might call a “forever teacher”.
Even just one teacher like that is enough to set your kid up for life. Noff was lucky enough to have this teacher for a whole year and then continued to stay in contact with her in one way or another for the next 4 years.
We, the Baras Family, would like to bestow the 2013 Best Teacher in the Entire World Award to Ms. Kellie Scrogings! Kellie (or Ms. Scrogings, as the kids must call her) was Noff’s Year 3 teachers. She then directed the school musicals when Noff was in Years 6 and 7.
Year 7 is now over, and primary school is coming to an end for my daughter. After the last school musical finished, I decided to send Kellie an email expressing my deepest thanks for her amazing work. I would like to share my email with you all and I hope it will inspire you to do the same with some of your children’s influential teachers. Teachers are the people who shape our future, by working with your most valuable possessions – your children. And you might be surprised to know they do not do it for the money! They do it for the love of your kids and the love and passion they have for making a difference and making this world a better place. Their reward is your appreciation and your kids’ success so make sure to share it with them.
This is what I said in my letter to Kellie:
Words cannot express the power of our feelings and appreciation. And I am sure most parents feel the same.
We (all of us parents) were lucky to have you as a year level teacher for our kids. Still more of us were fortunate to have you as our kids’ musical director. Thank you for giving our kids that opportunity.
We all have 2 or 3 teachers that have managed to stamp their names into our hearts and have helped us become who we are. As a teacher myself, I feel that if you have managed to be an inspiration for even one child, you have earned your title of “teacher”. A teacher is not just a person who teaches you Mathematics and English. They are those who inspire you to be the person you were meant to be. I hope you know that you are one of these inspiring teachers for many kids at this school. I know you are for my daughter.
We all know that teaching is not for the money, so I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for all the amazing things you have done:
Thank you for being who you are.
Thank you for being so inclusive and allowing all the kids to shine.
Thank you for having the patience to answer all their questions.
Thank you for being so crazy (it is a compliment!).
Thank you for staying ‘cool’ all the time.
Thank you for the personal touch you add to everything.
Thank you for the encouraging words and affection.
Thank you for pushing the kids to step up and be better than they are.
Thank you for challenging them to try things that seem hard.
Thank you for holding the vision of this musical, despite limited time and resources.
Thank you for your enormous dedication of time.
Thank you for being an inspiration to our kids.
Thank you for giving them wonderful memories of success and achievement
This is the last year of primary school for Noff and I may not be able to thank you every year for what you have done for her. I want you to know that when she tries for something that seems hard, when she is creative and crazy, funny and courageous, I will know she learned it from you – she learned it from the best.
Congratulations on an amazing musical.
There is an amazing award in America called the Milken Education Award that recognizes exceptional teachers for their contribution to education. It was established in 1987 and over the years has given over $64 million to nearly 2,600 of America’s top educators. What an amazing way to make a difference by rewarding those who make the most impact.
I hope many more countries around the world will adopt the philosophy that education is the heart of our society and that by investing in education, we invest in our future. Until then, do your share of the award giving. Send your kids’ teachers a thank you letter with what you think they have done well, in the hope that they will keep on doing it.
If the end of year is coming and you are looking for a gift for your kids’ teachers, remember, a letter of thanks is worth millions. This is true gratitude.