January 29, 2023

Showing appreciation is a powerful and yet basic act of human decency. When it nondual teacher instead of the head, both the person showing the appreciation and the recipient are renewed and validated and enriched.

There is an important time of thanks that is celebrated in the first week in May: Teacher Appreciation Week. Although it’s not as widely celebrated, every day should be a Teacher Appreciation Day throughout the globe.

When Great Oaks Elementary School’s All-Star staff take turns standing in the Central Texas rain, sun, and cold directing traffic so all our children are safe and then go inside to educate them, you know we all are blessed beyond words. Mr. Scott Morgan, you are wonderful! Cedar Valley Middle and McNeil High schools staffs, thank you for helping educate our children with so much passion and dedication.

“Teacher appreciation is a very important way for us to recognize their efforts. We should always remember that without them there will be no professionals, no architects, lawyers, doctors, engineers, priest, nuns, and all other professions,” according to a blogger named Scopionmagnet.

Teaching is a labor of love. Very few go into it for money. Teachers by and large go into education for the love of students and from a sense of hope for the next generation. Only in the teaching profession do we have dedicated workers whose work means so much, and yet society rewards them so meagerly.

Teachers are heroes, if you ask me. Not every teacher is extraordinary, but most of them are worth more than their weight in gold. If teachers in the western world work for one dollar today, their counterparts who taught many of us in Africa in the 1960s, 1970s and perhaps 1980s, worked for pennies.

The more I think about the working condition of our teachers in Nigeria in the days when I was growing up, the more I appreciate what those teachers did for me and my fellow students. Even the teachers we thought were mean to us (because they disciplined us when we deserved it), we now have come to understand were good teachers who meant well and wanted us to be successful adults.

They were not well paid, and even their small paychecks were sometimes withheld for months on end. They did not have credit cards or the means of getting loans. They did not have a safety net to tide them over until the month’s end. They had no modern lavatory near their dilapidated staff room. They had no kitchenette or microwave or refrigerator. They had no parking lot because most of them could not afford a car. They had no health insurance to speak of because the government did not care.

And even after these fine educators retired, they must jump through Sisyphean hoops to receive their retirement checks. It is dehumanizing. Frankly, they worked tirelessly for an ungrateful government and society who benefited from their productive years, only to chase them out to the wolves in their old age. They worked hard to advance humanity.

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