From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, May 10, 2018
A refrigerator, a sink, some chairs and a table are few of the common elements that make up a school teacher’s lounge. A more elaborate space might have some added texture, like a couch, a throw-rug and maybe a large board on which to post announcements and calendar items. A lounge is a place to take a break, catch up with a colleague, or grab a refreshment to carry you through the rest of the day.
This week, those lounges are buzzing with laughter and all kinds of gifts that say “thank you”. This is Teacher Appreciation Week, in which parents in communities around the country – including in our school district – like to tell teachers they care and appreciate them for making a difference in children’s lives.
At Walker Elementary School each day this week, a special treat is carefully selected to show how much teachers are loved. Starting on Monday morning, the lounge was full of energy snacks to help faculty members power through the day. On Tuesday (National Teacher Appreciation Day), the students each brought flowers that made up beautiful bouquets for each teacher to take home. On Wednesday, they enjoyed starting their morning with a nutritious buffet style yogurt bar. At lunchtime today, the teachers and staff are being served a lovely meal prepared by parents. Tomorrow’s appreciation gift is fantastic, but a secret, so I won’t spoil it.
There is something inherently honest and genuine about teachers where parents feel catalyzed to do something to show their gratitude. Every child wants to be known and heard, and when they have a safe environment, they thrive. Teachers provide this for our children, and they recognize their strengths, while helping them to feel valued. A week of showering them with lunch, gifts, and flowers is just a small way to thank the people who have a tremendous influence on our children.
I recently spoke to Anne Kryger, the (soon-to-be-retiring) principal at Prospect Elementary School. I asked Anne what is it that makes her occupation so special. She told me that when a child’s eyes light up with amazement, because they learned something they didn’t think it was possible to learn, it is the reason to be a teacher. She loves to see that joy and spark in children’s eyes.
Anne became a teacher 33 years ago, because she was inspired by the dedication and passion her sixth-grade teacher showed for her children.
Having two children already go through Walker and two remaining, my wife and I have seen so many teachers with that passion. There are actually too many to mention, but one of them and another soon-to-be-retiring is my son’s fifth grade teacher, Mrs Vicki Marek. She has spent the last 10 years with rambunctious fifth graders, and probably deserves an award for that! It almost seems too easy to do an appreciation week.
We’ll have another opportunity before the end of the year to get those “lounges” buzzing with laughter and smiles. Before it’s time to break for summertime, let’s pool our resources, and let those gift cards pour in to say “thank you” for taking good care of our kiddos.
Mike is a Clarendon Hills
resident; husband; Indian Princess; Indian Guide Dad; a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker. Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around the area. It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings. He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting residents, or maybe a little about history
. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”.