As another school year kicks off I find myself reflecting on the teachers from my school days as well as the teachers my boys have experienced. They are so deserving of the credit, praise, teacher appreciation weeks, holiday gifts, and so much more. Last week there was an article in our local newspaper updating our little community on school transportation. I was shocked at the tremendous effort it takes to get our kids to and from school each day.
I read the article and immediately thought back to all the bus drivers our boys have had through the years. These individuals play a critical role and it’s about so much more than just transporting kids to and from school. They are the first face our kids see in the morning and the last one they see before they get to be back home. I was soon lost in deeper reflection about all the people that have impacted my boys’ lives through their educational journey.
The teachers are INCREDIBLE and we have been blessed by some of the best teachers to lead them educationally. But sometimes I think we overlook the influence and impact of ALL the people our children see on a daily basis.
The school nurse that comforts them when they’re sick. Who dispenses the Tylenol, cough drops, bandaids, and comforting words.
The office secretary who will take care of all the tasks that we can’t even begin to fathom so the school day can run smoothly.
The principal who looks out for their safety, guides them in their good decision-making, and creates a cohesive, productive environment for students, teachers, and parents.
Then you have all the specialized teachers. The P.E. teachers who let’s them get their wiggles out, have fun, and learn about healthy living.
The music teacher who encourages a love of music and teaches them the sweet little songs they sing while playing with legos.
The art teachers who encourages creativity and facilitate the activities that provide us with all those “masterpieces” on our refrigerators.
Let’s not forget about the para-educators. My youngest had exceptional paras in both pre-school and pre-k. They provided that nurturing encouragement to my little man while he was away all day. Not to mention all the other tasks they assist with so a class filled with little ones can be productive.
I remember a few years ago my son was in sixth grade and he came home one day and was telling me all about “Mr. Joe”. Mr. Joe was the elementary school custodian who also assisted with serving lunch. He said Mr. Joe was always smiling, always friendly, always made effort to make kids feel special, important, and valued. Multiple times Luke mentioned how nice he was so I asked Luke “What can you do to make Mr. Joe know he’s appreciated?.” Luke spent the evening writing a heartfelt card and we picked up a gift card. Luke was so proud to hand that to Mr. Joe the next day and put a smile on his face.
Last year my little guy was in pre-K. Close to a thirty minute bus ride every morning and afternoon. It was unimaginably difficult to put my just turned five-year-old…ALL ALONE….on a bus each morning. So hard in fact I made my husband take him to the bus most days. The only thing that helped ease my nerves was the fact that he had the BEST bus driver we could have asked for. I cannot imagine a better experience with school transportation than Rocky provided him. He cared for those kids like they were his own. He kept the bus trip safe but always had a smile on his face and a treat for them on special occasions. We trusted him with our most precious cargo and he took that responsibility seriously which gave great comfort to this mama.
Often times it is the “unsung heroes” that have a dramatic impact on your child’s day. Teacher appreciation is SO necessary and probably should come more than once a year. But I think we also need to pause and take a moment to thank EVERYONE that plays a vital role in our children’s day.
It truly takes a village to bring up happy, healthy, and inspired individuals.