Dear Extraordinary Teacher

Dear Extraordinary Teacher,

On behalf of America’s students and families, we would like to take a moment during Teacher Appreciation Week to thank you for your work and impact that extends far beyond the boundaries of the classroom.

Look up “teacher” in the dictionary and you will likely find this definition: one who instructs. But there are a few adjectives missing from this definition … patient, knowledgeable, dedicated, compassionate, inspirational … the list goes on. As a caring professional who connects with students—and strives to discover what they’re passionate about to unlock their potential—you do so much more than simply instruct.

You’re constantly evaluating what works and what doesn’t, making quick adjustments on the fly, and assessing who gets it and who needs a little extra help. You come in early and stay late to give students the one-on-one attention they need. You inspire a lifelong love of learning and guide children’s futures. You advocate for children and your profession. And, in the midst of it all, you create safe spaces where kids can be themselves, dig into your own pocket to buy sneakers for a child in need or replenish classroom supplies, heal boo-boos, give hugs, and offer warm, encouraging and affirming words.

For you, there is no such thing as “other people’s children.” There are only your kids—the students you love and nurture as if they were your own. We not only thank you for all you deliver to children; we are proud to stand with you in everything you do to make sure students in every community have access to the great education they deserve. Together, we are making a difference for our nation’s students.

Thank you for being extraordinary and inspiring students to reach for the stars.

With much gratitude,

Laura Bay
National PTA President

Lily Eskelsen García
NEA President

How will you #ThankATeacher?

Teacher Appreciation Week is just around the corner and National PTA is celebrating in a big way!

The #ThankATeacher Contest encourages PTAs to share on social media examples of how their teachers deliver to students by using #ThankATeacher. Entering the contest is easy to do!

  1. Post a photo or video on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram that shows how teachers deliver to students in your school. Use the hashtag #ThankATeacher and make sure the post is public!
  2. Fill out the contest entry form at PTA.org/ThankATeacher.

The contest runs through April 17, 2017, and over $20,000 in prizes will be awarded to teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week in May.

Two grand prize winners will be selected to each receive a Google Express shopping spree worth up to $4,500 to help spruce up their school’s teachers’ lounges. Four first place winners will receive either a snack or wellness delivery worth up to $2,500 each to help stock up their teachers’ break rooms. All winners, including 25 runner up winners, will receive a Google Home for their school.

Three PTAs will also receive a library of 100 “I Can Read” books including characters like Pete the Cat, Amelia Bedelia, and Biscuit delivered at a school event featuring a children’s book author or costume character from HarperCollins Children’s Books. Ten additional PTAs also will receive an “I Can Read” book set for their school.

Teachers deliver so much to students every day and make a profound difference in the long-term success of children. Join us as we gear up for Teacher Appreciation Week by thanking the teachers in your lives and giving back.

Ashley Collier is the associate manager of digital communications at National PTA.

The Transformative Power of Math Success: One Family’s Story

Mathnasium-Photo-09222016

Parents, we know you’ll appreciate a real-life tale of math success—one of the many student victories that happen at Mathnasium every day!

When Iris Kaganovich brought her fourth grade daughter Edden to Mathnasium of El Segundo, Calif. in September 2015, she was in panic mode.

“Edden had never struggled in math before,” Iris recalled when Edden ended up at the lowest level. “Our school district switched to Common Core and it was more difficult than expected. I asked around, and all of the moms referred me to Mathnasium.”

Like all Mathnasium students, Edden sat down for the Mathnasium diagnostic assessment, which pinpointed strengths and weaknesses in her math foundations.

“I had no idea that Edden was struggling with basic multiplication, word problems and other fundamental math concepts,” Iris said.

Edden diligently attended sessions two to three times a week. Both mother and daughter were won over by the friendly and productive learning environment and found the Mathnasium teaching method very efficient.

Instructors spend one-on-one time with students like Edden and teach different approaches to explain challenging topics. As a working mom, Iris definitely appreciated Mathnasium’s flexible scheduling options as well.

After two months, Iris began to see improvement.

“Little by little, Edden was advancing. She became more confident about her skills and less anxious about math.”

Remarkably, Edden’s newfound math success transformed homework time for the entire family!

Now in fifth grade, Edden continues to go to Mathnasium. Gone are the days of floundering in the lowest-level math class—Iris happily reported that Edden almost got accepted into the highest-level class this school year!

Inspired by Edden’s success, Iris decided to send her youngest child, first grader Sky, to Mathnasium, as well.

“I realized the importance of building math skills early,” she said. “There’s no better place to do so than at Mathnasium!”


Damaris Candano-Hodas is the Marketing Communications Coordinator at Mathnasium Learning Centers.

Mathnasium is a proud sponsor of National PTA and has been invited to submit a blog post as part of their engagement with PTA. National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product or service, and no endorsement is implied by this content.

 

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How A Teacher Helped My Son—and Me—Aim Higher

Matthew Rodriguez and sonThis blog was originally posted on Impatient Optimists.

Several years ago, I was taking daily flights between Minneapolis and Chicago, all because of my child’s first-grade teacher. Due to some family troubles, my son, Mateo, was living in Illinois, while I worked in Minneapolis. Mateo’s teacher, Mrs. Woods, called me because she was having trouble getting Mateo to come to school every day.

Now, as the President of the Illinois PTA, I often hear the phrase “high expectations” thrown around, but I saw what that truly means by interacting with Mrs. Woods.

Once I responded to her phone call, she wouldn’t let go for the two years she taught my son. When Mateo wouldn’t complete homework, she would call. When he would act out in class, she would call. Mateo had a week of completed classwork? Positive phone call. There came a point when I realized, not only was Mrs. Woods holding my son to high standards, but she was holding me to them, too. So there I was, taking daily flights to ensure my child was getting the support his teacher said he needed—I’m lucky I worked for an airline!

For two years, my understanding of what it meant to hold my son to high standards grew. Like Mrs. Woods, I learned not to accept Mateo’s excuses; maybe he could get more time or additional help, but he was always held to the same high standard as others.

This Teacher Appreciation Week, I am honored to share the story of my son, who, in spite of his home struggles, learning disability, and other obstacles, is now in college studying communications due to the efforts of teachers like Mrs. Woods.

As a parent, I knew I wanted my son to go to college, but I had doubts about how he could get there. This lines up with recent findings in a report by Learning Heroes, an organization that provides tools and resources for parents to navigate the changes in the classroom. The report found that parents’ expectations for their children, especially among families of color, are high, but the path to earning a college degree is less clear.

When the obstacles for parents feel overwhelming, I breathe a sigh of relief knowing that there are teachers like Mrs. Woods in our schools. Getting so involved in school because of her and my son led me to the PTA and a lifelong commitment to fight for all children.

Teachers today are doing so much more than teaching subjects—they’re creating pathways for students and families, and we owe them our gratitude.


Matthew Rodriguez is president of the Illinois PTA.