Let’s appreciate our teachers

By Margaret Larson

As the school year is now in its final weeks, it is an appropriate time to celebrate our teachers with Teacher’s Appreciation Week. It is a very difficult time to be a teacher with all of the changes taking place on a national and state level and whether you agree with the new standards or not, I hope we can agree that we have amazing teachers everywhere.
Just as a parent somehow finds a great amount of love for any new addition to their family, I too have developed a great love for every teacher that my children have been blessed to have. I never knew if I would ever love a teacher as much as I loved Mrs. Westwood. However, I have found that I have loved their other teachers (Mrs. Giannotti, Miss. Winder, Mrs. Meline, Mrs. Adams and Mrs. Stephens) just as much, and the gratitude I have for them personally and their dedication is unmeasurable.
Over the past six months, I have learned how much additional time teachers spend during the weekends, evening and even holidays grading papers and entering grades. It is not uncommon for me to be enjoying a book during the evening hours and hear my phone beep that there is a new message only to find that a grade has been entered into Infinite Campus. I have also received the occasional phone call from teachers during the evening hours to report great test scores or answer a question/concern that my child had during the day. For any person that thinks teaching is an 8-3 job, you are wrong.
Being a part of the PTA, you will occasionally find me at the school during the evening hours, and it amazes me how many teachers are still at the school at this time. I once asked why, being 6 p.m. on a Friday, and their response was that because of all the recent changes they are having to change so much in the way they teach, and that requires many additional hours. How I appreciate their love and devotion to the students they teach. In February of 2014, our school received a PTA Take Your Family to School Grant, and we choose to spend the majority of the money serving our students and their parents/families pizza during a student lead open house our Parents, Pizza and Progress Night. We repeated our successful night again this calendar year. There was not a single complaint from our teachers, and this night required time during their teaching to prepare the students, personal preparation and time away from their family to attend this two-plus hour event.
It has been about 30 years since my elementary school days, but I have such fond memories of my teachers at Parkview, Lakeview and Central Schools in Nampa. It was with my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Stauffer, that I learned my letters and sounds. My first-grade teacher, Mrs. Compos, who taught me a love of culture. My second-grade teacher, Miss. Santana, that helped me see the importance of current events. My third-grade teacher, Mrs. Reilly, who instilled in me the love of reading. My fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Rodrick, who taught me of the world and creativity. My fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Romero, helped me develop a love of science. And because of my sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Elder, I can still recite the Gettysburg Address. These teachers and many other teachers through my days at West Junior High and Nampa High School have blessed my life and helped me to become the person that I am today.
How I hope we can take this Teacher’s Appreciation Week and celebrate the amazing teachers that can be found in every school. To my children’s most favorite teachers (Mrs. Westwood, Mrs. Giannotti, Miss. Winder, Mrs. Meline, Mrs. Adams and Mrs. Stephens), teachers at Chubbuck Elementary, my past teachers and teachers everywhere Happy Teacher’s Appreciation Week. It is my sincere hope that parents everywhere will give you the support and help you need to know you are greatly appreciated.

Margaret Larson is a mother of three children. She works part time at the Portneuf Medical Center as a dietitian and volunteers at Chubbuck Elementary School.