One of Hackley’s traditions is that every early February the Parents Association throws an Appreciation Luncheon for the faculty (full- and part-time), staff and administration. It’s truly an amazing meal: this year we had mac and cheese with truffle oil, a chili bar, chicken with a shitake sauce, shrimp kabobs, and more desserts than any dessert table has a right to hold. Oh, and Mexican hot chocolate.
As nice as it is to have a meal (or, as another school I worked for did, an open bar one evening), that’s not what will stand out in my mind. Having parents tell me how much their children appreciated the time I took to work with them on a project, or found just the right book for them – that means a lot.
It also means something when a former student says, “it took me years to realize exactly how cool you were.” (I remembered to say “thanks”, but inside? “well, DUH!”). That students over the years have come to tell me their problems… share their successes… or even take a few moments out of their day to come by to say hello? That means everything.
Working in a school we often hear the thank-you from the students, and equally often we feel it’s just a polite phrase. Thing is, at least in that moment, they really do mean it and we should take that in and kvell a little. I don’t know that we, as a society, take the time to tell the people who have helped us (whether or not they draw a paycheck for it) how much we appreciate them. The book 365 Thank Yous has been resonating with me and one of my goals for 2011 is to spend time daily telling someone how much they’ve helped my life be a better one.