A Little Teacher Appreciation

As a writer of children’s books who does a lot of school visits, (and as a parent), it has been my privilege to meet many truly amazing teachers.

Teaching has got to be one of the hardest and most important jobs there is.

Anyone who has children knows that, wonderful as they are, they can be trying at times even when they’re your own, and even when you don’t have a group of 25 or 30 to manage… (unless you’re the Duggars :))  Teaching requires intelligence, understanding, kindness, a sense of humor, and patience in spades.

To teachers we entrust the job of guiding our young ones, helping us help them become good people who will be ready and able to take on the responsibilities required of them when they become the adults of tomorrow.

What could be more important?

And yet teachers are so often underpaid and under-appreciated.

So please forgive me if I now wax a little prideful 🙂

I know a little about this first hand.  My husband (in addition to being the best of husbands and fathers, a talented singer/songwriter/musician, an avid runner, a gifted stand-up comic, and so much more) is a career teacher.  He’s an amazing guy – one of those people who could teach anything to anyone.  Not only is he incredibly articulate, he also has great instincts and an innate understanding of how best to reach people (kids and adults alike) and how to make the subject or material most accessible to them.

He has taught dyslexic children the joy of doing something they thought they couldn’t.  He has taught medieval history, extra english (language skills for those who need extra help in reading and writing), and geography, and led an 8th grade homeroom for years.  He has taught phys ed to grades K-9, and he started and continues to run his schools’ cross-country, winter running, and track teams, in the process bestowing upon his students self-confidence, an appreciation for physical exercise and the outdoors, and a lifetime skill.

In spite of how many children he’s taught and helped over the last 20 plus years, he often feels like he has little to show for himself, that he hasn’t really done anything important.  I can remind him time and again of the lives he’s touched and changed for the better, the children who wouldn’t be where they are today without him, but sometimes those kinds of sentiments carry more weight when they come directly from the people involved.

So it is with great pleasure that I tell you what happened yesterday.

He came home from work, and with wonder (and gratitude) in his voice, told me that his school yearbook had, this year, been dedicated to him.

Really and truly.

What an honor!

(And he’s not even retiring, so it’s not like the kids felt like they had to dedicate to him.  It was purely based on their love and appreciation :))

It may seem a small thing, but it means so much to him.  And I feel so proud of him, and so pleased for him, because he richly deserves that recognition.

(he’s the one on the far right)

With the school year drawing to a close, I hope we can all take a moment to consider our children’s teachers and perhaps tell them through a quick word or a little thank you note how much we appreciate all they do for our children.

After all, where would we be without them?

If you have any wonderful teacher stories, please share!

How To Find A Good Book: Children’s Book Review Blogs

What a great week of celebration!
Phyllis would like to wind it up by saying she just found out that Elmo from Sesame Street has the same birthday she does!  Imagine, 2 such celebrities sharing the same birthday!
Lest you be in danger of falling into a funk now that National Phyllis Week is ending, let me hasten to cheer you with good news.  Next week, we will have a distinguished guest!  None other that Karen Orloff, author of I WANNA IGUANA, IF MOM HAD THREE ARMS, the recently released I WANNA NEW ROOM, and the upcoming TALK OSCAR, PLEASE!  Not only will you get to meet her, but we’ll be giving away a free signed copy of I WANNA NEW ROOM to the winner of whatever contest we come up with 🙂  (Feel free to make suggestions.  Otherwise, you’ll just have to live with whatever I dream up…)
The following week (because I don’t want to over-excite you by putting too much good stuff in one week!) Cori Doerrfeld, the talented author/illustrator will be visiting.  You will have a chance to win a free signed copy of her newest book, PENNY LOVES PINK.  (Of course, since you’re here, you’ll have to play to win :))
Now, on to today’s topic…
Many of my posts so far have focused on writing.  Today I’d like to favor the teachers, librarians, parents, and other readers in our midst.  Since it’s Friday, you might have a little free time over the weekend to enjoy what I have to share.

The world of children’s books is a truly wonderful one!  There are so many talented authors and illustrators, and so many fabulous books.

But sometimes there are so many good books that the choice can be overwhelming.  How do you choose a book that might be just right for bedtime, library story time, or your classroom?

Certainly your children themselves are a good guide – they will reach for things that interest them.  Word of mouth is also great – your friends and colleagues will always have recommendations.  But what if you’re looking for a book on a specific topic?  How do you find one?  How do you know if it’s worth the trip to the library, or the price at the bookstore?

One option is to look at Children’s Book Review Blogs.  Here are a few terrific ones:

Children’s Book Browser
Going on a Book Hunt
The Reading Tub
A Fuse #8 Production
A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Enjoy!  I hope you find something great to read 🙂