Autumn green thankful sign flower, pumpkin, cat tail and bow.Ask a friend to tell you what she ate for dinner the night before, and your question is likely to be received with a pause and a shrug. Ask the same friend to name a teacher who greatly impacted her life, and she will likely respond with exuberant appreciation and a meaningful story. This month, as we reflect on all the people and things in our lives for which we feel gratitude, we at PLS would like to take a moment to thank the teachers across our country for the incalculable gifts they give and sacrifices they make to our children. Here’s to you, teachers. If we don’t say it enough, we appreciate you.

Teachers Give Us Confidence

Students who believe in their abilities at a young age are more likely to thrive throughout adolescence and into adulthood. Numerous researchers have demonstrated that one of the best ways to improve student achievement is to increase their self-esteem1. Teachers help students to build their confidence daily in a myriad ways. Teachers help students think critically, question and brainstorm new ideas and solutions. They teach students to stand up for themselves and one another by showing them how to give and earn respect. They inspire careers and give students the tools they need to see a visible and accomplishable path to success. Through these and many other daily lessons, teachers help students to turn dreams into reality.

Teachers Help Meet Basic Student Needs

A Facebook post shared by Brooke Goins, a teacher from Caryville, TN, went viral last month after Brooke shared a heartbreaking and heartwarming story about one of her students. After the student confessed that he was reliant upon regular food support provided by the school on nights and weekends, Brooke went out and filled her grocery cart full of non-perishable items to help support her student’s most basic need—nourishment. Brooke’s story is only one of many that play out across the country every day. Teachers who passionately care about the health and wellbeing of their students support them with supplies and tools that they need both inside and outside of the classroom—and sometimes, those supplies are truly life-saving.

Teachers Offer Protection

With reports of bullying and violence seemingly pervasive in the news, parents face understandable fears every time they send their child out of their home and into the classroom. In parents’ absence, teachers become students’ protectors, mentors, guides, and defenders, helping to create safe and welcoming environments in which students can focus on their academics.

Teachers Motivate the Highest Standards

Year-after-year, and class-after-class, teachers never stop pushing for progress. With a keen eye on student advancement, teachers inspire their students to work hard, try again, and accomplish more, because they know it can be done—because they’ve seen success time and time again, and they know what it takes to get there.

For these and all the ways that teachers protect, motivate, care for, and inspire our children, this Thanksgiving and always, thank you, teachers.

Do you remember a teacher that you are particularly thankful for?

Share a story or comment below. We’d love to hear from you.

1. Rubie, C.M., M.A.R. Townsend and D.W. Moore, 2004. Motivational and academic effects of cultural experiences for indigenous minority students in New Zealand. Educ. Psychol., 24: 143-160.

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