I recently sat down for a lunch meeting in Baltimore with some Playworks Maryland supporters. And like all Playworks gatherings, we started the conversation with a playful check-in question. I asked folks to introduce themselves by sharing their name, their profession, and briefly describe an adult who made a difference in their life when they were young.
I asked everyone to be brief, and while most tried, the question simply doesn’t lend itself to brevity. The twenty or so people told incredibly moving stories of parents, teachers, and coaches who had profoundly shaped how they viewed and navigated the world. Adults who cared, been firm and funny, and most importantly made them feel seen, so that they, in turn, could truly see themselves. And these adults had instilled a desire to give back.
And that’s what teachers do. This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and while I bristle at the very idea that we should limit the appreciation to a week, perhaps the best thing we can do this week to acknowledge the Herculean efforts of teachers is to recognize that the heart of their work is building healthy relationships. They norm caring, empathy, and leadership. They empower our children to grow up and become the engaged and loving citizens that we so desperately need.
Thank you teachers. Thank you for each and every moment of your work.