This week, I’m breaking my own schedule of one blog a week to talk a bit about teachers, thankfulness, and community support.
The teaching profession is extra close to my heart. My mom was an elementary school teacher in Hibbing in the 70’s, my best friend since birth is a kindergarten teacher, and I am lucky to have had wonderful teachers in my life, as well as having teachers as customers at the shop.
The past few years have been rough on a lot of people, but I have been continuously impressed with how the teachers I know have pivoted from in-person to online to in-person, sometimes juggling their own children at home at the same time.
The world in general makes me pretty crazy on an everyday basis lately. I’m sad. I'm disappointed. I’m concerned for the future. And I think about why some people have such a lack of empathy for others, especially those who are different than they are. And I think about education. I think about how maybe some people are afraid of things that they don’t understand, and I think about how much better I feel about something after I’ve done my research. After I’ve learned something new. And I think about how lucky I was to have had teachers and family who encouraged learning. Who encouraged thinking outside the box. Who made it safe and easy for me to question things and research before making final decisions. Who helped me to follow both my heart and my brain. Who showed me that it’s ok to make mistakes and learn and change my mind, or to learn and know that I had the correct answer all along. And I’m even grateful for those not so great teachers (because acknowledging the good with the bad is part of life). I’m grateful for the teacher that flat out told me that my project was “a bit too advanced for a girl” because that made me mad and motivated and made sure that I worked extra hard to get an “A” (It was given begrudgingly at best).
But at the core here, I’m talking about learning and growing, and becoming better humans who then, I guess, raise and educate better humans. And as helpless as I feel sometimes to make things magically better, I’m confident in the abilities of our educators to do their part to inspire and lead.
I don’t have kids in the school system, so I’ve never sent out an end-of-year teacher gift (although I’ve sent out plenty from all of you to your child’s teachers!) And I don’t have a pile of money or a magic wand. As I write this, the Minneapolis teachers are on strike, and my heart is so warmed by all of the community support I’m seeing from afar. I wish I could just fix it. I can’t. BUT–I can vote for legislation that supports educators, vote for politicians that make education a priority, and I can give thanks to them for all that they do for the community.
On that note, one of the stationery brands that I carry at the shop--Slightly Stationery--has generously created a deeply discounted card to thank teachers. This brand is one of my favorites, as they are women-led, manufacture ethically and sustainably in the US, and they support the Malala Fund which supports education for girls worldwide. I bought A LOT of them, and I’m hoping that whether or not you have a child in the school system, you’ll join me in writing cards of community support and appreciation. Words matter. You never know what a simple “Thank You” can do for someone, I can tell you from experience that it can be life changing in some cases.