Dear Teachers Everywhere...
by Jen Hatmaker on April 30th, 2013

Before there were any books or blogs or conferences or studies, I used to be a teacher. I know. Petrifying. I taught 4th grade for three years and 1st grade for one. And then I had a bunch of babies and can’t remember the next six years.
I was a very average elementary teacher who totally loved my students. And also? Sincerely sorry about all that homework, 4th grade parents. I wasn’t a mother yet. I figured you had nothing to do but complete my exhaustive weekly social studies packets utilizing your children’s higher level thinking skills and research techniques, because what every ten-year-old needs is five hours a week of additional geography work. I’m certain now you wished me dead. Bless it. (Several students have contacted me and they are all I’m an accountant now and I’m like um, do you mean an accountant for your high school math team? and they’re like I’m almost 30 and I’m all what exactly the heck just happened?)
Though I’ve switched to the fake job I currently have, I will never forget my classroom years, and I have a few things I want to tell you, Teachers Everywhere.
First of all, I’ve calculated your earnings by adding your classroom hours, pre- and post-school hours, conferences and phone calls, weekend work, after-hours grading, professional development requirements, lesson planning, team meetings, extracurricular clubs and teams, parent correspondence, district level seminars, and material preparation, and I believe you make approximately 19 cents an hour.
And then people say, yeah but teachers get three months off for summer, and then we all clutch our guts and die laughing because WHATEVER, MAN. Like teachers leave on the last day of school and just show up on the first with a miraculously prepared classroom and a month’s worth of lesson plans. But seriously, thanks for the laugh.

The amount of work and energy you pour into your work and our children is so astonishing, it is a crime that you don’t all make 150K a year. Since you couldn’t possibly do it for the money, we can only assume you love your job and love our kids. Can you understand how much we appreciate you?
You are doing far more than teaching our kids the building blocks of knowledge and learning; you are helping us raise our children. You provide a second environment in which they have to practice respect, obedience, teamwork, diligence. We tell them take initiative on your work and they are like this house is a drag, and then they come home from school and say I’m starting this project early because Mrs. Pulis says to take initiative, and we wonder if you have magic powers or if our children are just willfully obtuse. The answer is…yes.

That high standard you set for our kids? We freaking love it. Thank you. Thank you for insisting on kindness and respect, excellence and persistence. Thank you for sometimes saying, “This is junky work and you can do better. See you at recess.” BOOM. All day long, teachers. We stand behind you. Thanks for requiring their best.
And let me tell you something else: I’ve always had kids who mostly eased through school, but now I have two ESL kiddos and my heart for you has grown forty sizes bigger. My littles went to school with virtually no English, and I am telling you: we wouldn’t have made it through that first year without you, and I know what it cost. I can’t count how many papers came home last year with this stamp:

Don’t imagine I don’t know exactly what that means. Teachers, when you instruct our kids that struggle, I know you have, yet again, patiently pulled up a seat next to their desks, 24 other kids still in the room, and kindly helped them toward mastery. I know you modify, adapt, adjust for their success, which takes so much time and energy. Children with emotional or physical challenges, kids with language barriers and personal turmoil, those who struggle to learn and retain, test and succeed, they require so much of you in the midst of your regular responsibilities, and your patient attentiveness cannot possibly be overcelebrated. As a mom whose children blossomed under the weight of your investment, I could throw myself at your feet and weep with gratitude.
It’s one thing to have parents who sort of have to love you; it’s another to have a teacher affirm your goodness all year long. You know our kids come home and repeat every kind word you deliver, right? I close my eyes and thank God that another safe adult is building health into my children, especially since two of my kids have been subjected to such unsafe grown-ups. Your consistent presence is deeply healing for so many hurt kids. Your words are life-giving.
That is A LOT of daily affirmation. I feel exhausted just looking at this.

We know your task is incredibly difficult. Be creative and innovative…but also teach to this test, which by the way, your pay and security depends on. Challenge your gifted kids…aaaand modify for those with developmental delays. Keep all those parents happy! (<--- This alone should double your salary.) Use this new model, no this new one, now this new one. Surprise! We changed the entire district database. Please forfeit your Saturday for training. Stay on top of classroom communication. Attend all ARD/IEP/ESL evaluations for your students.
And oh, you do so much more. Serve on this additional committee. Volunteer to sponsor the Junior Class. Guess what you’re doing this weekend? Prom chaperone. You lead Destination Imagination Teams; it only takes 100 hours of your life. You coach, lead, sponsor, direct. You put on plays and programs, award ceremonies and graduations. You come early and stay late for the students who couldn’t get it, didn’t finish it, need your one-on-one help. You wear bandanas and paint your faces for Field Day. You are rock stars.
Administrators, we see and love you too. When you sat down with me holding your legal pads and pens, ready to learn how to care best for my incoming Ethiopians, and you wrote down every word I said and agreed to counter-intuitive requests like please don’t hold their hands at first and please don’t let them over-attach to you, you nodded and simply said…absolutely. I will never forget that. You are for us, for our kids, for our families, for our teachers, and we adore you.
You are amazing, Teachers and Administrators. From the bottom of my heart, I want you to hear it:
Thank you.
You are so loved, so important. Your work impacts kids for the rest of their lives. I am 38-years-old and still talking about Mrs. Palmer, Mr. Stranathan, Mrs. Thomas, Dr. Russell, Dr. Lyles. You don’t get the credit you deserve, so I am standing up today, applauding you, cherishing your investment in the next generation, in my kids. I see the incredible amount of work you do, and I am forever grateful. You are heroes; there is no lesser designation.
Please remember when you are grading papers at 10:30pm on Sunday night, or pinning another incredible idea to your Teacher Board, or writing our kids another encouraging note, or throwing a party because they survived the latest standardized test, we see you, we appreciate you, and we freaking love you.

Your life matters so much and your legacy will go on long after you’re done teaching. You are sending out visionaries, thinkers, activists, and leaders into the world, and we owe you a debt of gratitude that we can never repay.
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! We honor you.
Have a teacher who needs to hear this applause? Send this to them. Teachers everywhere deserve this credit. Have a story about a teacher who altered the course of your life or your child’s life? Tell us. Are you a teacher? Take it in, because you are WONDERFUL.

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displaying most recent 100 comments

Richard Oliver Jr - May 2nd, 2013 at 7:11 PM
Kudos to all teachers and administrators.
I would also like to add thanks to volunteers in schools. I volunteered at my son's school on a regular basis until some craziness from my soon to be ex-wife. I enjoyed it soooo much, even the days that I went home saying to myself, "I need a drink."
Name - May 2nd, 2013 at 7:13 PM
Thank you. After 34 years of teaching, it's good to remember in such a positive way, that you do make a difference.

Name - May 2nd, 2013 at 7:19 PM
As a 34 yr. (retired) teacher...I thank you! Your cogent comments and observations are well phrased, and so true!

At one point, in the first ten years of my career...I had to become a cheerleader sponsor, in order to keep the job. That year, the extra hours resulted in a NEGATIVE income, when I had to figure in the extra babysitting charges! Coaches and others in the profession know what I am talking about! I loved every minute of my career, but I have difficulty in recommending it to young people, due to the demands the profession makes on the individual, AND their family!
Elizabeth - May 2nd, 2013 at 7:21 PM
Thank you times a million! It could not have been said better! If only people new the reality of our jobs! Bless your heart!

ron tarrant - May 2nd, 2013 at 7:40 PM
I am going to have my wife read this/ She is a retired teacher. My neice sent this to me she is also a teacher' My daughterinlaw taught in Germany where she was when my son was station there with the USA army
Summer Lakeman - May 2nd, 2013 at 8:36 PM
thank you, i'm pasting this on my facebook page for my friends and family to see. I have many friends and family that are teachers. so thank you.
Becky Spies - May 2nd, 2013 at 8:40 PM
As a high school English teacher, it is rare to get any parent to thank me for teaching their child. So I'm taking your blog as my personal thank you. I appreciate it!!!
Victoria - May 2nd, 2013 at 8:51 PM
I am a retired business woman who went back to school to get a Master's in Education to teach Business Education to middle school students. What a challenge! I have never worked harder nor been more committed to helping my kids learn for success. Teaching in NOT a's a calling.
Justin Knight - May 2nd, 2013 at 9:42 PM
This made my night! I will be sending it to ALL of my teacher friends at school tomorrow. With all the bad press teachers get these days, it's about time someone stood up and said something like this! Thank you!
Justin Knight- Writing Pad Dad
Writing Pad Dad Blog

Barbara - May 2nd, 2013 at 10:15 PM
Sincere appreciation for your comments and observations.. I leave teaching this year after 30 years. It is not due to the children, but because my school has become an unhappy place to go to. Federal, State, and District mandates have made teaching unbearably hostile for those of us in the classroom. I will miss the wonder and enthusiasm of "my" second graders as I have spent 25 years with them. Thank you again.
Christie - May 3rd, 2013 at 12:56 AM
I had such wonderful teachers and loved school. I played school, even made class rosters with my favorite names, and lesson plans. Yes, I did! I was in 4th and 5th grades when I played like that. My wonderful school experience inspired me to homeschool our kids, believe it or not. The whole public school vs. homeschool does not matter. I have the utmost respect for classroom teachers ... that is a different gifting to lead and inspire so many at one time. So, so hard to do. I'm impressed.
Sandy Kendell - May 3rd, 2013 at 6:53 AM
As an educator of 20 years, I don't know how to thank you for this. But, thank you! From the bottom of my heart, thank you!
Joyce Ganey - May 3rd, 2013 at 12:43 PM
What a great article. You make me happy to know that my 21 years of teaching have not been in vain. Thanks for remembering us.
Sarah H - May 3rd, 2013 at 8:12 PM
As a first grade teacher (who is exhausted at this time of the year), thank you. Tears in my eyes and chills up and down my arms while a teacher-friend read this to me tonight. We both have had rough weeks.
Diana - May 3rd, 2013 at 9:04 PM
This week, I just kept my eyes on my kids and we just kept learning together. Thank you for this. It was perfectly timed in this Canadian teacher's life. I really needed to hear this.
Tina - May 3rd, 2013 at 10:01 PM
Thank you so much for your heart-warming message honoring teachers. You made my day!

Richard Gauthier - May 4th, 2013 at 5:42 AM
Thanks Jen. Great message. No question, teachers are important at all levels & positive recognition is few & far between. Most teachers certainly don't teach for the recognition or the money, but because they want to make a positive difference in the world. My wife Irene taught as a Certified Special Ed Montessori Teacher and I was a Military Training Instructor in The United States Air Force. I taught life saving survival skills to 1000's of military personnel for more than a dozen years. We both thoroughly enjoyed our jobs, knowing we were playing such important rolls as teachers. Though neither of us are any longer in the classroom, we too appreciate this type of recognition.
Laurie - May 4th, 2013 at 10:17 AM
Wow! This is so appreciated. I am retiring this year, after so many wonderful years working with children. Loved every minute of it...but have to admit the demands of the job in the past 10-15 years have pretty much required a 14 hour day. But I will never forget the kids, the families, my colleagues, and the joy of helping a struggling child.
Lisa B. - May 4th, 2013 at 10:22 AM
Thank you! Love being a middle school sped teacher!
Sharon - May 4th, 2013 at 10:48 AM
Thank you isn't enough, but THANK YOU, all you wonderful teachers~
Erin - May 4th, 2013 at 4:35 PM
THANK YOU. Thanks for posting this, for thinking it, and for believing it. I'm in my seventh year of teaching, and--while I wouldn't actually dream of doing anything else if my life depended on it--sometimes it feels hard. So hard. Teaching is the hardest--and most rewarding--job that I have ever had, and probably will ever have. I feel appreciated thanks to your post! :)
Lisa M - May 4th, 2013 at 6:27 PM
Thank you so much!
Christine - May 4th, 2013 at 7:19 PM
Wonderful article! I am actually leaving the teaching profession after only 5 years. I adore my students but the stress level overpowers any enjoyment I get in my day to day interaction with them.
Christa - August 17th, 2013 at 6:36 PM
I'm right there with u Christine! This is my 5th year and since my first year I have looked and prayed for a different job! I'm a mom of three and although I love having the same schedule as them it's not been worth all the stress we all endure during the 9 months we are all in school. It's so hard feeling this stressed and under appreciated all those months! Love my students but feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water most days:(
Christian - May 4th, 2013 at 9:05 PM
What a great appreciation! Never before have I read something like this! I'm a retired international school teacher and I thank you with all my heart for finding the right words to at last defend us poor teachers torn between administrative duties and the ire and criticism of so many parents, who are unable to raise their kids properly and expect the teachers to do the work for them! Alter 39 years of teaching across the World and having met so many dedicated teaching professionals, I couldn't agree less with you. If the medias and more people were praising teachers like you do, believe me the world would be a much better place to live! Yes, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart!
Cindy - May 4th, 2013 at 9:35 PM
Well said! I wish all parents had your insight. Maybe every living soul should spend one full day in the classroom and then they would understand what a hard job it is. Thanks for sharing.
JULIA Tyndall - May 4th, 2013 at 10:12 PM
Well written and you can tell you we're a teacher that understood it is a craft and a calling not just a career. I am going on my twelfth year of teaching and it is not getting easier, but the harder it gets the more I know that what I do is important. So much of this I connect to and it feels good to read it at the time of the year that we are losing sight of all the good things we are doing while focusing on all we wish we would have done.
Amanda Bartlett - May 4th, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Thank you so much from one more grateful teacher! May we all continue to keep loving all of our kiddos :)
Alison - May 5th, 2013 at 4:08 AM
As someone in the last legs of her first year of teaching, this means a lot to me (especially right now on my break when I just taught a crazy class!!). Thanks for your encouragement and support. We couldn't do it without parents like you!
Elizabeth - May 5th, 2013 at 7:07 AM
I think this blog post could be the beginning of a support group for teachers! I've always thought there should be one. Thank you for acknowledging the various challenges of teaching, but also the joys. My favorite part of each year is getting to know my students' personalities.
Trever Forbes - May 5th, 2013 at 7:57 AM
As an educator, I am honored and encouraged by your kind words and honest support of everything amazing about our profession. I consider myself blessed to have such incredible opportunities to invest in, and change lives of future generations. Thank you!
Michelle - May 5th, 2013 at 10:30 AM
This is beautiful.
Julie Kohlbacher - May 5th, 2013 at 10:56 AM
Thanks, Jen. Tara forwarded this to me and it does make me understand that parents do appreciate us - even though many do not express it as well as you do.
teacher - May 5th, 2013 at 12:59 PM
hypothetically....what do you call a teacher
1. who takes no pay leave for a fake reason and inconveniences an entire school who now have to make up her classes?
2. gets complimentary time off for doing her job
3. tells students that they have to pay for lessons from her if they want notes because she is not paid to give notes
4. always leaves school early, and stays home often but complains when they get supervision

my administration calls them dedicated teachers.
Lori - May 5th, 2013 at 4:09 PM
Wow, that was so encouraging. I only know that a teacher's calling is from the highest source. We love, because He first loved us. We are only able to give what has been given to us. A good measure pressed down and shaken together will be poured into us. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You truly have been given the gift of encouragement because that is what I feel when I read your post. THANK YOU!
Carol - May 5th, 2013 at 4:51 PM
What a lovely letter to those who are involved in such and honorable profession. I only wish that all people shared your sentiments. As a retired teacher, it is with great pride that I say I devoted 38 years to teaching and guiding students. They were a great sorce of joy and pride and I'm so lucky to still be in touch with many. Thank you for your kindness in sending this letter.
Teddie Sue Mooday - May 5th, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Hi Jen
I have an interesting story of how I stumbled upon you in Barnes n Noble as your book 7 jumped off the shelves at me. I needed that book badly..God is so good. Anyway, I ended up with a group of Gals that I will call my Counsel... We just finished a study on Esther. However, after reading your book 7 , I bought one for all my girls on my counsel. Anyway, they have asked me to lead them on this journey of 7 and lead a study. Do you have a suggestion on how to do this? I just want it to be awesome for us all.. I am not sure where to start or how to lead. I want so much to make a difference in our crazy, stressful lives. I also am hoping that our church will bring you to speak.

Any help will be appreciated. I did not know how to get a hold of you so I thought I would start here.

Thank you for making a difference,

Teddie Sue Mooday

Mary Ullrich - May 6th, 2013 at 7:34 PM
I LOVE teaching!!!!!!!!!!! I will do anything to set kids up for success. I will push me, I will push my students, I will push students' parents'........whatever it take for these children of our future to continue becoming the wonderful people they have begun to be.......there is SO many choice ahead. I want ALL my kids to have a chance at EVERYTHING and ANYTHING they are willing/wanting to be or become!!!!!!!!
Katheryn Eckert - May 7th, 2013 at 5:48 AM
not all teachers are the saints portrayed here. some are heroes, some incredibly giving and caring, some are mediocre, some are downright poor. As in all walks of life, we are all teachers in some form or another, yet one never sees a sewer worker appreciation week, or appreciation on mass scale handed out to maintenance or custodial personnel in schools who also work tirelessly to see that things are kept well for the students AND those teachers. Yes, hooray for the teachers, but hooray also for the moms and dads, cleaning ladies, men who mow and fix and keep the school healthy and running and able to open each day so your children have a safe clean place to learn. Hooray to all the unsung heroes in life. You'll find them on every street, in every neighborhood, in every job. They work so that we may enjoy, so they can feed and care for their families, and supply us with the things we need in this world. Hooray for all who work an honest job for a day's pay, to sustain themselves and others.
Name - May 7th, 2013 at 5:39 PM
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! We honor you !!!!
Name - May 7th, 2013 at 6:40 PM
As a teacher who is at that time of the year where everything is piling up and the kids are shutting down, thank you for the perspective. It made me cry.
tch87 - May 8th, 2013 at 5:09 PM
This is wonderful! I have been teaching for 25 years. I have seen teaching techniques come , go, and come back again on the educational pendulum. Thank you parents for sharing your children with us. They are the heart and soul of why we do what we do.
Jessica - May 8th, 2013 at 11:18 PM
Thank you so very much for this. I am a first year teacher teaching sixth grade science and it's been a tough year. Things always seem so incredibly negative and it took my breath away to see someone positively recognize so fully the breadth and depth of our daily lives as teachers. You've truly made me feel appreciated today. God bless you.
Craig - May 9th, 2013 at 6:42 AM
I'm trying to be 'manly', because tearing up in front of my students while reading my emails is a bit awkward. :P
Gina - August 18th, 2013 at 1:30 PM
It's "manly" to show emotion so that your students know you are human.
Let those tears flow.....
James - September 11th, 2013 at 7:52 AM
It is intense, standing there for all to see, struggling to keep composure while, say, reading poetry or prose that gets right to you, feeling the "thundering silence" as every student eye and ear is on you, each wondering the same thing, waiting for whatever result.

However, I also know that in this, you have a control over, and a reach to them that no other situation can match, and that, often, each extends beyond the moment. You show them a side of yourself they can't help but respect and, yes, tell others how cool that side is.
Irma - May 9th, 2013 at 2:23 PM
This is my 30th year as a teacher. Your words mean so much! Thank you. You get it!!!
Amy - May 10th, 2013 at 4:55 PM
I enjoyed this post so much! I too taught 4th grade for several years, and then the next 8 have been a blur for me with children. I laughed so hard about the too much homework part. I was that teacher! I can't believe the parents I run into now still speak to me. I'm anxious to read more from you.
James - May 10th, 2013 at 5:41 PM
Craig, you remind me of high school English teaching days (I'm now at community college) when, in reading and interpreting poetry or prose, the words would send me to the edge. There in front of everyone, the seconds were minutes and the silence thunder as I stood there holding self together. Best of all, the students 'got it,' and more than a few told me later they came to the edge themselves. I wouldn't trade these moments in my life for anything.
Jana - May 10th, 2013 at 10:59 PM
Beautiful! Thank you for writing this and sharing it!
Kasey - May 12th, 2013 at 9:08 AM
Wow. I'm studying to be a teacher right now, and I wasn't sure if it was for me, but this has made me cry.

Thank you so much.
Michelle - May 13th, 2013 at 11:46 PM
Thank you Thank you thank you for writing this.

At the end of my son's first grade year I was out of energy and out of funds for the end-of-year Target Gift Card teacher appreciation gift (which I do know those teachers LOVE getting), so I wrote a letter to his teacher. Nothing particularly clever or even interesting - I mean, how many ways can one say thank you for teaching my son to stand in line and wait his turn and memorize 912 site words?

First Grade Teacher burst into tears.

Being the incredibly wise, first-time-in-first-grade parent that I was, I assumed she was just an emotional person and i was glad I wrote the letter and that was that. In second grade, I wrote a similar letter and the teacher later told me that she forwarded the letter to her parents - They framed it and hung it on their wall. Strange.

Well, that first grader just got his driver's license. Including band directors, coaches, club leaders he has about 22 teachers a year. Multiply this by 3 kids and I have a village and then some raising the larger part of my family. I've written letters to rock star teachers and mediocre-at-best teachers alike (you can always think of SOMETHING nice and still truthful) because what I now know is that no matter who they are, this is true:

Where the relationship bank account is concerned, virtually every one of those teachers put a million dollars into each of my kids for each tiny amount I put back into them as a thank you.

The grumpy, past-her-prime teacher that my daughter had for third grade buried her husband after a long battle with a wretched disease just a few weeks after my daughter skipped out of her classroom for the last time. The (genius) 5th grade teacher my son has now made the entire 5th grade wear groucho marx glasses for their class pictures because from experience she knew that the last thing an 11 year-old wants to see is an awkward picture of himself. Funny is the universal 11 year-old language and she made 25 stringy haired, early adolescent embodiments of awkward proud to look at themselves.

I ran into First Grade Teacher a few weeks ago at an auction. She's retiring this year, but wanted to let me know that after 11 years she still carries that letter in. her. wallet. She showed it to me. "You'd think with all of the people we cross paths with on a daily basis that I'd have a file of these, but I don't. I love my job but I need to be reminded once in a while why I give pieces of my heart away to it." Which warmed my heart and broke it at the same time.

Jesus loves these people who are helping to raise our kids. I'm not an exceptional writer or a great classroom volunteer or even a good parent much of the time (my kids just fell over with laughter. I just tonight threatened imminent beheading), but we're called into relationships and when we ask god for words he seems to give them. Parents, please write something - anything - that teachers can look back and read over and over again. Because if you think they don't do that, they do.

With any luck, our gratitude sings a song that eventually sounds like Jesus to them. My kid wearing the groucho glasses wrote a haiku about an outhouse for his teacher yesterday. So clearly it's probably best that she hear him and not me anyway.

Thank you again for this.
Jennifer - May 15th, 2013 at 8:58 PM
I have been teaching for 14 years and have never read such heart-felt words of thanks. This is my last year in the classroom, as I am leaving for administration next year. Thank you for helping end my wonderful career as a classroom teacher with such a good taste in my mouth. We rarely hear words such as these, and they mean more than you know. I am typing this at 9:57 on a Wednesday night with tears in my eyes. Thank you for taking the time to create and share this beautiful sentiment.
viola - May 17th, 2013 at 7:08 PM
After thirty-four years, I teach because I can't do anything else. I have the talent and education to do many things, be successful and make more money. But I wouldn't be happy. I don't have the ability to not teach. Just as I can't stop breathing.
Jeanne Orman - June 29th, 2013 at 6:08 AM
I feel the same way:D
Heidi Haaaland - May 21st, 2013 at 9:11 PM
My mom taught for 35 years and I am sending her this right now. We need you to testify before Congress. Thank you for writing this and for sharing this. It's just stellar.
stuckinmypedals - May 26th, 2013 at 9:49 PM
Thank you. I'm a grateful first grade teacher.
Rachel - May 30th, 2013 at 3:23 PM
I'm finally catching up on your blog, after a long couple of months of teaching, tutoring, and extra university classes... and this post was exactly what I needed to hear. It's funny how God can use someone else's voice, and blogged words to build us up exactly when we are feeling at our lowest. I love teaching, but this has been an uphill season.

I love it when you are sassy, but your heartfelt words are just as wonderful. Thank you for taking the time to write this. It is being printed out as I type.

Much love from Vancouver, BC.
MW - May 30th, 2013 at 10:55 PM
Best teacher appreciation gift ever!

Also, one thing that I found really moving was the stories about the schools impacted by the Oklahoma tornadoes recently. Reading about teachers who laid across children, who tucked every student into as safe as a place as they could find before taking shelter, who put aside panic over their own kids and families while ensuring the safety of others - it reminded me once again how much trust we're putting into teachers' hands and how little we pay them for literally at times putting the lives of kids above their own. Let's hear it for teachers and heroes and hero-teachers!
EH - May 30th, 2013 at 11:45 PM
I stumbled onto your blog today, and I love it. I am putting a link to this on my blog - I just wrapped up my first year of teaching, and this was wonderful to read. I'd like to share it with my fellow first-year teachers as we muddle through and examine our exhausting first year. Thank you for your encouragement!
Meg - May 31st, 2013 at 9:08 AM
My girls have had some amazing teachers, and I've always written letters of appreciation. Unfortunately, they've also had terrible ones. This year alone my Freshman had 4 coaches for teachers, and they were gone so much they barely knew the kids names. My kid is an honor student and extremely driven, and feels like she learned next to nothing this year. I still can't figure out why school districts think coaches are good at being teachers. We've never had a positive experience with that!

I know there are MANY (like my mom for 35 years) who dedicate their lives to making our kids better people, and I am thankful.
Name - May 31st, 2013 at 5:18 PM
Thank you for realizing what it takes!
Dana - June 1st, 2013 at 11:07 PM
Thank you! I am an English teacher who LOVES my job and my students (although I am always questioning my subject choice when I'm up grading essays at 10:30 on Sunday nights). It is so nice to hear from a parent who gets it.
Kay - June 2nd, 2013 at 11:17 AM
WOW! What a fantastic tribute! I have been retired for 11 years now and still miss teaching ... not the meetings, changes in standards and benchmarks and the meetings it took to develop them only to have them change, the fight to get a decent contract, etc. ... but I miss the kids and watching them grow in all the ways kids grow. I miss loving them and seeing them respond to positive feedback I gave them. I miss the rejoicing of classmates for a young boy who after many months of struggling to master his spelling words for the Friday test, finally got a 100%! I could go on and on but suffice it to say, I miss doing what I truly loved! Thank you for such an all-encompassing recognition and appreciation for what good teachers do. Your gratitude is a wonderful attitude that I am certain your own children will learn.
Mary - June 2nd, 2013 at 4:37 PM
Thank you for the encouragement. I taught Secondary English for 28 years; then taught Learning Disabilities Middle School for 15 years, home schooled my three youngest grandchildren thru 5th grade, and now my last one will be in 6th grade next year. What do I do now? I have a granddaughter who wants me to teach her German next year: sounds exciting!! I have loved teaching and "my kids" for a GOOD many years. God Bless You, Everyone.
Dianne - June 2nd, 2013 at 8:17 PM
Thanks so much! The morale in schools are seriously going downhill! This was a good read for me tonight!
Jane - June 3rd, 2013 at 1:30 PM
Thank you for the kind and heart felt words. You hit every moment of my daily classroom experiences. It is nice to hear someone appreciates and sees all we, the teachers do for your children and society! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Marvia - June 3rd, 2013 at 9:08 PM
You're pulling my heart strings - reminding me why i loved teaching in the first place before it became all about silly assessments at the cost of creativity and so much more - thank you for sharing the love. thank you for honoring teachers ... just... THANK YOU! you got me nearly in tears over here ;)
nurse davis - June 7th, 2013 at 1:56 AM
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Alyssa - June 10th, 2013 at 6:58 PM
I am a 1st grade teacher and wanted to say thank you. I am sitting here typing this in my classroom, the school day was over 2 hours ago, my 7 month baby girl is at home waiting for me, but my 25 little ones that belong to me for 8 hours a day need me as well. I love my job not because of the praise we get or the lack of;( but because I feel I was born to do this. Thank you for reminding so many how important a teachers job is!
Jamila - June 11th, 2013 at 10:27 AM
Okay, you need a YouTube Show (if you don't already have one) as the the P/T rep of life. Seriously, having lived on both sides of the fight?!? I vote yes! get it!
Kim - June 11th, 2013 at 5:19 PM
Thank you! Thank you so very much!
Debi - June 11th, 2013 at 9:23 PM
Thank you for taking the time to write this. I, too, am a teacher and I adore my precious children. I feel so blessed to be able to do what I passionately love doing.....teaching and loving all children!
Nancy - June 11th, 2013 at 11:50 PM
Thank you for speaking directly to the hearts of teachers! And a big thank you to the family who forwarded this to me after being the 1st grade teacher to all 3 of their amazing children!
Mary Ellen - June 12th, 2013 at 12:28 PM
I cannot even begin to thank you for this kindness. I taught for over thirty years and then was forced to resign. See, my husband divorced and broke me. Parents complained that I was not what they expected. They didn't know that being with their children kept me going. The twelve hours a day in my classroom made my life full. I lie...some understood. They sent cards and acknowledged my work, my awkward winning work. Their students thrived and succeeded. Interestingly, most of those students are now lovely adults who continue connected to me. They often tell me of that year and how much they learned both of a strong curriculum and if life. Thank you for your beautiful letter. We all work together and sometimes it is mysterious, for sure.
Sarah from MA - June 13th, 2013 at 7:44 AM
Jen, You make me laugh out loud. And I never say "lol" because really I'm just chuckling a little (CAL) or giving a bit of an internal laugh(). But for you, really, LOL. And you're spot on. This one is GREAT (and no, I'm not a teacher, but I love some). I am a parent, and a friend forwarded me your end-of-year parent post. Solidarity, sister. Keep writing!! You rock!!
Michelle - June 13th, 2013 at 11:51 PM
I feel like this is really redundant considering all the comments above, but I must say it anyway!


I have been teaching for 3 years and I am already exhausted. It's nice to know that my efforts are appreciated.
Mike - June 14th, 2013 at 10:59 AM
As a first year teacher who has had a rough year and a very long day working with a student who was struggling....
This made my day.

Thank you.
Nallene - June 17th, 2013 at 12:21 AM
Thank you for your kind words. I've been a teacher for 22 yrs. Things have changed. I'm not sure when teachers became the enemy. We frequently deal with angry, insensitive or apathetic parents. Legislators dictate what we do without any teacher input or even stepping foot into a classroom. Children who don't value education or teachers make the classrooms very difficult. The 30ish 2nd graders I have each year are important to me.To hear your appreciation makes me remember how noble the profession is and why I chose to be a teacher. You've made me look eagerly toward next year's group of children. Thank you!
Jewel - June 17th, 2013 at 5:47 PM
Thank you so much. I usually feel so unappreciated. My students are older and never satisfied with anything I do. I try so hard to make them happy. In addition to teaching them what they need to know.I get so exhausted pushing the boulder uphill. I'm so glad someone out there thinks I'm okay.
SD - June 17th, 2013 at 7:35 PM
This is amazing! It is so often we hear criticism and complaints, this kind of compliment stands far above all of those. Thank you a million!!
Laureen - June 18th, 2013 at 11:36 AM
My girl has taught for 13 years, inner city gang kids, affluent suburban kids, ESL and gifted and kids with so many needs. Now she is beginning as assistant principal... and all with middle schoolers. Whom she loves.Her superhero cape is still flying, and I am so stinkin' proud. Love teachers. Love love love. PS my youngest girl is her nanny, since for some reason teachers with a master's in library science aren't in high demand, so while she's getting ready to head off to Korea to teach, she is hands-on as the best.aunt.ever. Teachers rule.
Rozanne Lamar - June 19th, 2013 at 5:51 PM
Thank you. As a teacher that has been teaching a VERY LONG time with 5 children of mine own....THANK YOU! Only someone that has been a teacher can really understand what we do but also why we do it...Teaching is a CALLING on our lives and WE LOVE KIDS! Thank you.
Karen - June 20th, 2013 at 12:20 PM
As a teacher, I wish all parents were like you--you actually understand what we do, that we DON'T get summers "off," and do many, many, MANY things behind-the-scenes that most parents don't realize. Thank you for the kind words to teachers everywhere--and just because you're not in the classroom currently, doesn't mean you're not "teaching." You're just reaching people a different way. :)
Jennifer - June 20th, 2013 at 6:16 PM
I feel good reading this, and I believe the words. It is rare to have a parent understand with such detail and compassion the world of education. Thank you. Will complete, Godwilling, year 20 tomorrow at 1:00 when the little people get dismissed.
Theresa - June 20th, 2013 at 10:02 PM
Thank you so much....really, thank you.
Jim - June 21st, 2013 at 9:37 AM
Just a heart felt Thank you! I have been teaching off and on since 1970. The last 16 years in Junior High. It is so nice to hear the words of praise and the realization that you "get" it.
JohnnaDean - June 27th, 2013 at 12:15 PM
Wow. This is the letter I wish I had written. Every year I take painstaking hours writing the perfect year-end note that truly expresses our thanks for everything done throughout the year. The teachers appreciate it, but I know I always fall short of communicating it all. This comes close. After family, there is no one more important in your child's life than his/her teacher(s).

Thank you for this.
Bernie - June 30th, 2013 at 3:19 AM
What a wonderful collection of appreciation. My daughter has wanted to teach since she was 2 years old. Sadly, teaching has become a thankless job and in New Jersey the Governor is on attack. She has been out of college for 3 years and just this last school year took an assistant's job; she earned just short of $8,000. No paid time off, no benefits. Thank goodness we can keep her on our heath insurance 1 more year. If she is lucky, she will get a job in a horrible district with kids with all sorts of issues, parents (or baby mamas and baby daddies) who don't care or aren't present, where the day begins at 7 a.m. and ends at 7 p.m. because that is how charter schools "raise" their students. All this for a yearly wage of $35,000. Still, she wants to do this thankless job.
Lisa S - August 16th, 2013 at 6:31 PM
Send her to Texas! We need teachers! Starting pay is $47,000 in our district, and it's an affordable place to live. Kids still have issues ... but we're working together to make things better.
kimberly - July 11th, 2013 at 8:42 PM
Love this!!! What a kind post about how hard teachers work. Sometimes we don't take the time to appreciate the things that people do for us, and not just teachers. It's nice to appreciate others.
Linda Fields - July 30th, 2013 at 9:36 PM
Whenever a parent has asked me for suggestions on what to give a child's teacher, I have said, "Write a note, and ask for it to be included in that teacher's personnel file." Notes from parents, and especially from students, have made my day on more than one occasion. I keep a file called "Feel Good Notes." Even though I have been retired, after 31 years, for 8 years, I still go back and read them. Linda
Shannon - August 5th, 2013 at 10:37 AM
Thank you so much! I'm starting my 19th year as an elementary teacher and I certainly needed this! It's so nice to know that someone notices all of the hard work that we put in.
Jeff - August 17th, 2013 at 12:20 PM
The school year is starting again, and your blog, Mrs. Hatmaker, is tremendously inspiring, accurate, and funny. Thanks for getting it right. From a grateful CA high school English teacher, starting year (tear?) 25.
Sara - August 18th, 2013 at 8:56 AM
Thanks for such a beautiful tribute to teachers everywhere. I teach third grade and a colleague sent me your post. After 16 years in education I've read a lot of sappy, urban legends about teachers making a difference. Your words were so obviously genuine, they brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for reminding me why I teach! Here's to school year 2013-14!
Michelle - August 18th, 2013 at 11:41 AM
Thank you! I just found this on a friend's facebook page and I teared up as I read it. You really get it. As I return this week to my nineteenth year of teaching, I am grateful for these thoughts. Thanks for the inspiration and appreciation!
Carol - August 18th, 2013 at 11:41 AM
Thanks so much for your very kind words. I love, love, love my job, and love, love, love working with kids, but the demands and the criticism seem like they get harder and more spirit crushing every year. Thanks for reminding me that someone sees/cares what we do!
Anna Singletary - August 24th, 2013 at 9:56 PM
I knew teaching was my calling from God. I loved those babies like they were my own. For 30 years, I have had excellent principals ,mediocre assistant principals , Devout Christian ,Jewish, gay, I learned the most from Dr . Skipper. He is a musician and is still amazing. At my parents and son's funeral after he had gone through with Susan.I love that man dearly and am not ashamed to tell him every time I see him.I will be helping Michael's teacher this year.She called me so I think she thinks I am competent.God help me. I know I can do this.


Julie - August 30th, 2013 at 10:10 AM
I have already "stolen" this post to use on Aesop (the scheduling program we use for substitute teachers) for 2014's Teacher Appreciation Week. Very well written!
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Bob Ben - September 22nd, 2013 at 4:31 PM
Thanks for motivating me. I 'm feeling better now that I know I'm tired for a reason. I'm a teacher! Teaching first grade this year! Big change from third.
Madison - September 23rd, 2013 at 10:06 PM
These words are priceless and paint a beautiful picture of why I love to teach everyday. I have been struggling with changes and stress this year, and my amazing first year mentee sent me this to read. Thank you for showing love and compassion and reminding me just what it is we do! All my prayers and thank yous!
Madison - Frisco, TX
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Elizabeth - January 15th, 2014 at 12:17 PM
It is a daunting task to reach out to students day after day.

Whether you teach in an impoverished inner city school or in a suburb of prosperity and privilege, it is all the same. There are too many children weak in hope, in trust, and in spirit. There are too many children who dwell in hated, fear, and doubt. There are too many children who live in brokenness and despair. Prayerful teaching places an extra mantel of protection and love around the children entrusted to us and turns our classrooms into holy ground.

Each week a Bible passage is cited along with a reflection on that passage. Always the reflection will have implications for teaching whether it be in a public, private, religious, or home school, whether it be pre-school, grade school, middle or high school, or at post-secondary or university level.

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