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Growing up a teacher’s daughter has given me a lifetime of appreciation for educators. Of course, it’s true; I may be biased. I’ve been fortunate to have learned and been guided by many outstanding teachers, including my mother and grandmother, who passed those legacy skills onto my daughter, who strongly feels teaching is her calling. But if you’ve had your eyes and ears open in recent years, you, too, probably feel deep gratitude for the angels among us who work in the school system.

So, as the school year ends, and on behalf of parents, grandparents, and anyone who loves a child that goes to school, I’d like to speak directly to the human treasures who chose this profession because they love children and believe in education. You are an essential part of our village, and here’s what we see. 

We see the love you give by making sure each child feels seen. This indelibly means you have a bag of 1000 tricks because no child is the same.

We see your talent in managing 20-25 personalities and backgrounds while trying to conform to one curriculum.

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We see your worry when you wonder if you’re doing enough.

We see your smile when you’re sure you’ve made a difference.  

We see the heartbreak it causes you when a child struggles at home, and there’s seemingly nothing you can do except hold them in your loving care for those 7-8 hours Monday-Friday.

We see the preparation that happens outside school hours. Every day. Every week. Every year.

We see you heal boo-boos, both physical and mental.

We see you handle disrespect with grit and a passion for these kids so strong you’re willing to tough it out.

We see your courage when you scan the premises while walking into the building, in your classroom, and at recess.

We see your joy when a concept “clicks” for a child and you have that “this is why I do this” moment.

We see the creative genius in you when our child comes home excited to share what they’ve learned and experienced because of your expertise and hard work

We see your patience.
We see your dedication.
We see your love.

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We wonder how you do it. We see you put the figurative oxygen masks on students daily. Most importantly, we want you to know that you have our blessing to put your oxygen mask on first. We know YOU need care, and our children can only thrive if their teacher thrives. We acknowledge this is easier said than done, but please consider it. And by all means, please tell us where we can help. We need you. Our children need you.

Thank you just isn’t enough. There should be a more meaningful, broader term for our gratitude. The value of your service is immeasurable.

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Karri Theis

Karri Theis is an award-winning author/writer who lives in Minnesota with her husband, two daughters, and mini Goldendoodle. In 2020, she put her sales career on hold to navigate distance learning. She also used this time to chronicle her family's valuable time at home and fulfill a 20-year dream of publishing a children's picture book. "Little Miss Jean and the Time Machine" is inspired by the bond her daughters share with their heavenly grandmother and is available anywhere books are sold. The second book in the series will publish later this year.

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