This weekend I had a fit of cooking and baking energy and made fudge krinkle cookies, applesauce banana bread, and a three-cheese pasta al forno for dinner on Sunday with homemade garlic bread. I finished with a citrus cake, baked in a tube pan and topped with a lemon-flavored powdered sugar glaze.
It’s the cake that stands out to me, though, because I baked it for the annual Teacher Appreciation Luncheon the PTA at my girls’ school holds each year, in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week. This year, the luncheon was held a little early because the school’s annual spring festival is on May 12. I’ve participated in both of these events for the past five years, but since my girls are changing school in the fall, this will be the last time I participate in either.
On the one hand, my life will be easier next year, logistically, and I’m looking forward to this big change for our family. On the other hand, however, my children have had excellent teachers at their current school, and we’ve found a wonderful community of parents and families there. We have tried to show our appreciation of the teachers in different ways throughout our time there, by volunteering in the classroom, sending in donations of supplies from paper towels to posterboard to pencils, and by purchasing books for all my girls’ teachers, current and former, at the Scholastic Book Fair each year. We try to show our appreciation of the community by volunteering at events like movie nights, field days, bake sales and book fairs.
While I have an array of fears about next year, one recent fear is that my girls’ current and former teachers and school community will think we are leaving because we are pissed off about public schools. My kids have had great teachers, and I hope they know how much we have appreciated them over the years. We are not leaving for any reason having to do with teachers, employees, or the treatment my children have received, and we are definitely open to returning to the public school system at some point in the future, if that turns out to be best for our girls.
There are certainly valid reasons to be pissed off with schools, and there are systemic and pervasive problems in many of our school systems, as well as how we think (and spend) nationally about education.The number of students in the average public school classroom, for example, is a big philosophical problem for me. But at the same time, there are thousands of teachers, employees and administrators who are doing their best to work within flawed systems for the good of the students they interact with every day. Are there bad apples in the bunch? Of course. Are there employees who take advantage of the flaws in the system? Sadly, of course. But that should not distract our attention away from the employees who are dedicating their lives to our kids, or from the systems that need to be reformed.
- Printable Teacher Appreciation Card (bedifferentactnormal.com)