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other STF links

New Hope for Lutheran Education (Feature)

Let Music Take the First Chair (Feature)

Yes! Change Is Possible
(Even at a Lutheran School) (AMDnet)

Engaging Families (ECEnet)

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LEA is looking for writers

LEA is looking for writers in front-line ministries for articles in future ShapingtheFuture magazine pieces. If you would like to write, contact ed.grube@lea.org (do not reply to this publication) to express and discuss your interests.

 

LEADnet

Creating a Culture of
Appreciation

Teaching is a calling. Whether it’s kindergarten, second grade, middle school, or high school, the work that teachers do is truly a ministry to school families. The goal is growth of the students spiritually, academically, and emotionally, so that they become the young men and women God would have them be. Teachers want to see their students thrive and succeed and are truly happy and excited to see their growth. However, it’s human nature for teachers to also wish that people would thank them for the work that they’ve done.

It’s human nature for teachers to also wish that people would thank them for the work that they’ve done. The hours spent outside the classroom making bulletin boards, creating new lesson plans, going to meetings, watching concerts or sporting events, and doing myriads of tasks asked by the administration takes time from self, family, and friends. It would really be nice to receive recognition for all of this work done beyond the teaching hours of the school day. In fact, all of this work can take its toll on a staff. It can cause resentment, especially as the school year progresses and everyone becomes tired. Expressions of appreciation in other professions may include bonuses or other perks and rewards. And how often have you heard someone say, “I wish I got three months off each year.” Or my favorite, “You get added vacation days when you take the students on the class/sports/music trip.” It is a natural reaction to want to ask people if they are thinking before they speak. So the questions become, “What can be done to show appreciation for a job well-done?” and “How do we fund this when our budget is already strained?”

Where I teach, our faculty and staff are blessed because of the actions of our pastors and our FOCUS group (think PTL) Teacher Appreciation Committee. We are not a large school with an unlimited budget, but we have some creative people that appreciate us. A small portion of our FOCUS budget is set aside for teacher appreciation, and I’m going to share how they use it in small but significant ways. Please note that most of the items below are for just the school staff unless otherwise indicated. Our Early Childhood Center and Parents Day Out teachers are blessed by their directors and parents in different ways.

Before school begins:

During the year:

Each week there is a small gift on the table in the teacher workroom. We really look forward each week to seeing what the gift is, because it always comes with a note. Examples include:

Many more possibilities exist, but you get the idea. We receive something small each week. The cute notes and small thoughtful treats really do brighten our day and week.

While we appreciate all of these “gifts and actions,” I think the written and spoken words of my principal, fellow teachers, and pastors are the best.

A note of thanks:

One last word…Philippians 1:3–6 (ESV) reminds us of the importance of being thankful for others and keeping them in our prayers. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

More than anything, teachers covet the prayers of parents, fellow teachers, their principals, and pastors. You may not be able to give them many tangible gifts, but your prayers, words, and notes can lift spirits and brighten a day.
And just so you know, we appreciate you! On behalf of Jonathan Laabs, Ed Grube, and the whole LEA staff, I want to thank you. For the ministry you perform, for the joy that you spread, and for time you spend away from your family—THANK YOU! Your job will never pay what you deserve, but the impact of what you do is everlasting.

Denise Rice is the eighth grade homeroom teacher and language arts teacher at St. Paul’s, Des Peres, Mo. She also serves LEA in frequent and varied volunteer capacities.

Photos courtesy the author.