BELLAIRE - The importance of the teaching profession is one that can never be overstated.
Starting at the age of 6, little boys and girls are ushered off to kindergarten to begin the long, arduous journey from child to young adult.
It's a journey that starts in the home but one that, for nine months out of the year, is seemingly tasked moreso to a child's teacher than his or her parents.
T-L Photo/MIKE HUGHES
The teaching staff at St. John Central Grade School in Bellaire is ready for Teacher Appreciation Week, which kicks off Monday throughout the country. First row: Joe Allen. Second row, from left: Cathy Rotilio, Linda Donahue, Kelly Chek and Tonie Sivert. Third row, from left: Marianne Clark, Jody Campbell and Nancy Ducci. Fourth row, from left: Carol Sadlowski, Michelle Van Dorn and Theresa Young.
That's because, during the school year, teachers have equal or, in same cases, more face time with school-aged children than their parents.
They teach the basics, of course: reading, writing, math, social studies. Those basics are expanded upon as students move from primary age to secondary.
But it's more than just the basics.
Teachers act as mentors. They can be friends. They enable young children to develop their thought processes and provide them an opportunity to look from different viewpoints.
Unfortunately for some, they also may be the only positive male or female role model in a young child's life.
It's a great responsibility, one that the men and woman of the teaching profession take on, knowing ahead of time they will never be truly compensated enough for the work they do.
Yet, it's a calling they accept willingly.
Each year, schools across the country, their students and administrative staff strive to show their teachers just how appreciative and thankful they are for all that they do.
Starting Monday, schools both locally and nationwide will begin celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week.
From simple, heartfelt thank yous to more elaborate celebrations, T.A.W. was designed to let the men and women in the education field know just how important they are to the boys and girls, young men and women who are entrusted under their tutelage.
Any manner of thanks, from a free lunch for teachers to prizes and giveaways, can be expected. Both the students and the staff will be working to find some special way to say thank you.
At St. John Central Grade School in Bellaire, some teachers are getting the opportunity to watch how the other half lives for a day.
The eighth grade students, as part of their class project, had to develop a lesson plan and will spend Monday morning handling instruction duties for the younger grade levels.
It will be a learning experience for the students and a brief, albeit likely interesting and fun, respite for the teachers.
Teacher Appreciation Week began in 1985 when the National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA) established the celebratory week during the first full week of May.
The National Education Association's assembly then voted to, in turn, make the Tuesday of Teacher Appreciation Week be recognized as National Teacher Day.
Thus, the first week of May is a full-on recognition of all things educator. The NPTA has incorporated the social-media explosion into its celebration, establishing a Facebook page entitled "PTA Thank-a-Teacher."
Its establishment is to allow former and current students to offer words of thanks, pictures and even videos, and provides a chance to discuss their favorite teachers and how they helped make an impact on their lives. Current and former students are also encouraged to tweet similar words of appreciation utilizing the Twitter hashtag #Thankateacher.
This campaign went over extremely well in its debut last year, and it has come back for a second round in 2013. The explosion of social media has made it easier to give thanks to both current and former teachers.