You may not know me, but I am an elementary school principal who has the privilege of working alongside wonderful people like you every single day. To all teachers, counselors, paraprofessionals, and administrators...I wanted to take a moment to say thank you.
Thank you for making a difference in the lives of students each day. It’s truly amazing the number of stories I have heard from students who come to school and find your classroom more of a home than the place they left that morning. The number of times I heard about how your love and support provided more comfort and encouragement than you may have ever thought possible. The number of times I have heard about the relationships you've built, and the impact they've had. Stories of perseverance, grace, love, community, joyful learning, risk taking, challenges conquered, and stories shared.
Thank you for putting countless students and teammates before yourself. Thank you for embracing the idea that this life, this profession, is not about you, but rather...the students and families we serve. Thank you for giving everything you have to the students who may never say thank you, or understand the impact you have had until much later in life. Thank you for planting the seeds of success, encouraging students to believe in the impossible, and building a mindset that is focused on not-yet, instead of can’t. Thank you for staying late and working weekends, worrying about that student who just isn’t understanding the material, and being willing to be a stable and positive role-model that offers grace when it would be much easier to show frustration and anger.
Thank you for celebrating the moments of success...even the small ones. For understanding it’s not about providing stickers and ribbons for showing up, but rather, taking the time to learn about each child, and cheering as they finally got that math problem right, or read that sentence, or said “I get it!”
Thank you for being a smiling face at your door each day. Thank you for pushing through the challenges in your life in order to put the needs of your students first. Thank you for being you...mistakes and all. For being willing to model the imperfections of planning, laughing through the failed lessons and messes made. Thank you for remembering that school is not just about grades and attendance, but life lessons and ideas shared.
Thank you for choosing a profession that is always challenging, always changing, and always needing your best. Thank you for choosing a profession that requires sub plans for sick days, and back up plans for technology outages and lessons that took half the time you thought they would. Thank you for choosing a profession that requires you to love openly, forgive daily, show grace often, and be flexible as each day rarely goes as planned.
Thank you for buying snacks for your kids. For buying new shoes, clothes, school supplies and backpacks. Thank you for waiting in the office with a student whose parents just can’t seem to make it on time each day for dismissal. Thank you for drying tears and offering encouragement. Thank you for creating a safe place to learn, and being a protector of every child you come in contact with. Thank you for never giving up, and embracing the weight that comes with a student’s education on the line. Thank you for working with challenging parents, constant pressure of student performance, and the inevitable change that is always around the corner.
Thank you for being a teacher, an educator, a counselor, a paraprofessional, an administrator...we all get one life to live, and I can’t thank you enough for giving yours to others. What you do each day may not always be noticed, may not always come with a thank you, may not always feel as successful as you wish it would...but please remember this: You make a difference, you matter, you provide love and safety, acceptance and support, and you change lives each day. In the end, when it’s time to say goodbye to the classroom or the campus you serve, know you lived a life worth living, and that you touched countless lives while having an impact that may very will reverberate through all eternity.
Those two words just don’t seem like enough...yet let me say them from the bottom of my heart - Thank You.