Monday, May 2, 2016

Saying thanks

It's Teacher Appreciation Week this week. That's right, all week. Gone are the days when a simple apple would suffice. Or some dusty old pot pourri at Christmas. The US teachers unions have decided that simply isn't good enough any more and demanded a full week of appreciation.

Okay, I'm not sure it was the teachers union. And since this isn't a Hallmark holiday we can excuse the greetings card lobby too. Still, someone somewhere decided it was necessary and so, here we are.

Today Lady P took 3 flowers to school, one for each of the teachers. Tomorrow she will dress as a princess, to make them feel like queens for a day. On Wednesday she will take them handmade cards (with gift cards enclosed). On Thursday she'll dress as a a super hero, because teachers are heroes so that is the theme. On Friday she will wear her favourite teacher's favourite colours.

Some of the more involved (aka SAH) mums are taking in breakfasts and lunches for the teachers too. All of this organized by our parent co-ordinator, who does an outstanding job taking care of the school's desire to enrich everyone's lives and mark every 'holiday', while minimizing demands on the parents. And really although the tasks this week sound like a lot, they don't take much effort.

When I first got the letter (especially the attachment listing our teachers' favourite lunch orders) I was pretty snarky about this whole appreciation week shebang. 'No-one brings me lunch while I'm doing the job I'm paid to do', I grumbled. Though TLOML pointed out that sometimes he actually does. When it comes down to it, I do really appreciate the work our teachers do. They are getting paid to show up and do a good job but they go a long way beyond that and give Lady P an awful lot of love and happiness every day. So if some sweet little gestures this week make them feel valued, I'm all for it. Otherwise it might have ended up with me giving them that lame Christmas gift. Thank goodness for life's organizers, who let the rest of us just show up and go along with it all.

On the same theme, about a month ago Lady P (with my 'guidance') wrote a thank you note to the nurses and doctor who took such great care of her in February when she sliced her head open. She always tells people she was playing on a construction site, which makes us look bad - it was, in fact, the climbing frame at school. Anyway it was a deep cut which has now, thanks to some tidy stitches, healed very neatly indeed. In the UK I think people often write a thank you note to a doctor or nurse. My sister, who is an NHS physio, is always getting presents from her patients. But I don't think it's such common practice here. Is that because in the UK we are all so incredibly grateful for the NHS? Quite right too - but I don't intend to stop with the gratitude just because of the idiotic healthcare funding situation here. After all, US nurses aren't paid significantly more than their UK peers. Some US doctors are coining it in (the specalists and surgeons) but they are burdened with medical school debts which might take some of the joy out of cashing that pay cheque.

I suppose whether or how much someone gets paid is beside the point anyway. Whether its socially prescribed, culturally ingrained, or purely spontaneous, it can't ever be a bad thing to say thank you. Bring on the appreciation weeks and stock up on thank you notes!

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