A Teacher Appreciation Gift
(Hancock Park, CA)
I teach at a small private non-profit school.
Teachers there don't get any preparation time and often are asked to go the extra mile many times a day from extra yard duties, to creating materials from next to nothing and we are always asked to keep the budget in mind so we often spend our own money for curriculum and supplies.
Nonetheless, I absolutely love my job.
Teaching for the sheer pleasure of seeing a student learn and not having to consider all the politics and red-tape that comes with teaching in the public board keeps me where I am.
One year I had a particularly demanding Grade ½ class. There were several students who needed individual attention. I would work through recesses and lunches just to get everything done. I was also in a classroom that was farthest away from the main doors so if I didn't come out of my room, I seldom saw the parents before school.
About the middle of the year I became ill, probably overworked, and could not shake whatever bug I had.
One morning I must have looked like I felt because when one mother brought her son in late, she asked me if I was okay and I told her I was a little under the weather.
At the end of the day she came to my classroom just before dismissal with a full meal for my family. Everything was included, even a bottle of dressing for the salad! She told me to take the night off and rest.
I cannot explain how that appreciation gesture made me feel. I love my job but knowing that a parent appreciated my efforts and cared about me to the point of going through all that trouble was very touching.
This happened over 10 years ago and even though many parents have written me cards, given gifts and even baked cookies or other treats, nothing has ever touched me like that gift of a meal affected me.