Thankful Thursday: Three Things Great Teachers Do

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Stephanie Kanak

Hi! I'm Stephanie, owner of I hope this blog and my collection of gratitude quotes is a place to find hope, inspiration and encouragement to incorporate a sense of gratitude into your life. Connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, or Facebook. I'd love to hear from you!
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“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

–Henry Brooks Adams

My son’s 4th grade teacher has been teaching for 23 years. She has the experience of a seasoned teacher but the joy and excitement of a recent grad. What a blessing she has been to all of these kids! I’m so very thankful for her!

Here are three things that made her a great teacher and why I’m grateful for her, and all the dedicated teachers like her, that do more than just teach the academics well.

1.) I’m grateful when teachers teach citizenship WITH responsibility.

My son’s teacher defined and enforced a consistent classroom structure AND instilled a sense of responsibility on the part of the children in the classroom for maintaining it. Kids need boundaries. They need to know that there are rules of their environment and consequences for breaking them. But they also need to know they have a responsibility for their environment. The classroom is a small model of the community we live in. It’s a safe place where our children get to practice how they will be confident, caring, and responsible members of society. You cannot teach about the history of our government without teaching the character traits that make a good leaders.

2.) I’m grateful when teachers emphasize work-life balance.

For as much as she was structured, my son’s teacher was also flexible. She had a system that rewarded consistent behavior with a free homework pass. If you turned in a certain number of homework assignments, you earned a free homework pass to use on any day you wanted. You could save them up for a certain week, or use them as needed. What was great about this system was that wasn’t based on performance, it was based on consistency. The message was that when you regularly meet all the requirements of your “work”, it’s ok to take a break once in a while. What a great way to teach work-life balance that wasn’t at the expense of a good work ethic.

3.) I’m grateful when teachers have a good sense of humor.

World's Goodest Teecher (end of year teacher gift)

Kids are kids. They like riddles and jokes and to have fun. Good teachers know how to balance this with the need to get school work done. My son’s teacher did this really well.

This is a picture of the end of the year gift (a t-shirt) I made from the class to my son’s teacher. Each student had a chance to sign the back of the shirt during the end of the year class party. Then they presented it to her with mischievous glee at the obvious grammar and spelling errors. She loved it and laughed when she saw it. And the kids loved it too. Being able to laugh with a teacher and still respect them is a great gift.

Thank You Moment

Thank you to all the teachers, like my son’s, that pour so much of themselves into their jobs. You are making a difference, not just with your students, but with their families too. Be encouraged and keep doing what you’re doing!

Do you know a great teacher that has made a difference in your life or the life of your children? I’d love to hear about it. I’d also encourage you to send a note of thanks to them for investing so much of themselves into you or your child.