OPINION: Cancel Teacher Appreciation

In recent years, there has been a growing trend of appreciation days or weeks dedicated to various professions, including Teacher Appreciation Week. While the intent behind these appreciation events is laudable, it’s time we rethink the concept of Teacher Appreciation and move towards more effective means of showing our gratitude.

Firstly, the concept of designating a specific week for Teacher Appreciation inherently implies that for the rest of the year, teachers’ efforts and hard work can be sidelined. Not only is this reductionist, but it also devalues the continuous struggles and achievements of teachers who pour their hearts into their profession every single day. Teachers don’t stop caring for their students after this particular week has passed; they continue to go above and beyond throughout the year.

Additionally, Teacher Appreciation Week often leads to tokenistic gestures such as small gifts or treats that do little in addressing the real issues plaguing the teaching profession, like low pay, limited resources, or inadequate support. These issues cannot be resolved with gift cards or complimentary lunches. Instead, society must advocate for better policies and regulations in schools and push for changes that will help improve teachers’ lives substantially.

A more meaningful way to express gratitude to our teachers would be by genuinely engaging with them not just once a year but regularly. This includes seeking feedback on how schools can better support their needs, offering them opportunities for professional development, and recognizing their achievements both within the school community and publicly.

Moreover, advocacy should not be limited to a particular week in May. It is essential to continuously voice support for higher wages for teachers, pushing for smaller class sizes that allow more personal attention to students, and campaigning for more substantial investment in educational resources.

Furthermore, parents can show their appreciation by actively participating in parent-teacher conferences and collaborating with teachers for their children’s success. Teachers thrive when they feel supported by parents who share in their efforts to nurture the future generation.

In conclusion, it’s high time we re-evaluate our perception of Teacher Appreciation and replace performative gestures with actions that genuinely empower teachers. Continuous engagement, professional development opportunities, improved working conditions, and adequate support should become the mainstay in expressing gratitude for their unwavering commitment and dedication. The adage ‘actions speak louder than words’ is fitting here – let us show teachers that they are truly valued every day instead of limiting our recognition to just one week.

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