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  • Dr. Jackie Minor

Make the Most of Teacher Appreciation Week!


Teacher Appreciation Week comes once a year. Isn’t it interesting it is usually in the last month of school? May is the month many need a shot in the arm to finish strong! This seems to be especially true this year. I’ve been monitoring social media and have been saddened by the dialogue taking place among educators. It seems countless teachers feel disrespected and prevented from doing their jobs adequately. Personal feeds are flooded with comments from teachers who are leaving the profession and many more who want to. I can’t help but wonder. Is it this way everywhere? Has this become the norm?


I know social media can’t be our only litmus test to determine the state of education, but it really has become the platform so many choose to use. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest seem to set the tone for how we think and feel about our work, and right now things aren’t looking or sounding too good. I try hard to follow positive people and groups, but I can’t escape the sounds of desperation radiating from our schools. Man, do we need Teacher Appreciation week!


Despite the gloom ringing from the school rafters, I’m praying next week lifts our spirits and gives everyone just what they need to end the year with a bang! I have some thoughts on how we can make this happen, but first I want to give you a couple of “grace claimers.” In other words, you may need to claim some grace for yourselves in two areas. First, it is okay to feel tired and exhausted right now. You may feel like that marathon runner who is simply putting one foot in front of the other to get to the finish line. That’s okay. Your exhaustion is a reflection of your commitment to your craft, and you should feel proud, not discouraged.


Second, some days are just hard. From student behavior to unscheduled interruptions, no two days are alike. Sometimes our best-laid plans fail. This is part of teaching. Don’t personalize the hard days. Learn what you can from them and then move on. Even Paul has something to say about this!


No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:13-14


It is hard to imagine Paul narrowing his focus to ONE thing. It must have been important for him to choose ONE thing! What was it? Forget the past, press on, and keep our focus on the next step. How many times do we let the past steal our joy or make us feel like a failure in the present? Instead of dwelling on yesterday, Paul encourages us to concentrate on the progress we’ve made and keep moving forward. God’s grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). Claim your grace!


Now, back to Teacher Appreciation Week. You know it will go by quickly! Let’s examine three keys to making the most of this week!


1. Appreciate yourself. Embrace what people tell you this week. Don’t second guess it, and don’t wish it was something else. Own it, soak it up, and believe all the nice things people say about you! I also want you to take a quick inventory. What are your strengths? Student relationships? Developing lesson plans? Encouraging colleagues? Reflecting on our strengths is something I personally struggle doing, but it is so important! It is so easy to focus on where we fall short or what we need to do next. We often don’t stop and take time to appreciate what we have accomplished. This is your week. Appreciate yourself!


2. Appreciate others. This week is usually filled with acknowledgments from parents, students, and administrators. Why not use this week as an opportunity to let your colleagues know how much you appreciate them? Get specific. Don’t just say, “I appreciate you.” Let them know why. I can remember a colleague who always had a smile on her face. She never seemed to let anything rattle her. She was the voice of reason during some pretty chaotic times. Her calm demeanor had a tremendous impact on me, and I never told her. I wish now that I had. Be selfless during this week. Appreciate others!


3. Protect your identity. This is a big one, and it may be the most important. It is so easy to connect our sense of identity and worth to what we do for a living. While there is a fine line here, there is still a line we don’t want to blur. If you are a believer, your identity is in Christ. You can be assured of your worth regardless of what is said or done this week. Who you are in Christ impacts how you do your job, but you are not defined by your job. You are defined by Jesus Christ who lives IN you! As a result, you are more than your job, and you are more than what others think about you. You are who God says you are.


Do you know what God says about you? It is so important to fill our hearts with God’s Word so that when acknowledgments OR criticisms come, we can remember who we truly are!

  • When a parent says something hurtful, you can decide to ignore those words and remind yourself that you are deeply precious to God, and nothing can ever change or cancel out His love for you (Romans 8:38-39).

  • When you are praised and awarded, you can remain humble by acknowledging God’s grace in your life (James 4:6; Proverbs 22:4).

  • When circumstances change at work and you feel frustrated, you can choose to remember God’s faithfulness to you (2 Thessalonians 3:3;2 Timothy 2:13).

  • When someone reminds you of a past mistake or the enemy attacks you with thoughts of guilt or condemnation, you can remember that you’ve been made right with God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Granted, we may not always “feel” these truths, but when we intentionally fill our hearts with God’s Word, we will begin to see ourselves the way He sees us! This isn’t an overnight kind of thing. As we grow to understand our identity in Christ and to live out the promises in His Word, our lives will become full and overflowing (John 10:10)!


Let’s change the narrative. There are amazing things going on in our schools across the country because of committed educators like you. It’s time to toot your horn! Let’s use Teacher Appreciation week as an opportunity to celebrate the good. Being positive doesn’t mean we deny the existence of difficulty, but we have much to celebrate! As Christian educators, God has given us a platform to let others see the light of Jesus through our lives. So, make the most of Teacher Appreciation Week this year.


Appreciate yourself, appreciate others, and remember who you are in Christ!


Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!


Want more on knowing who you are in Christ? Check out this link: https://joycemeyer.org/everydayanswers/ea-teachings/knowing-who-i-am-in-christ


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