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Dear Mrs. Baker

As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, I wonder why we only spend one week to show them the recognition they deserve year-round. Without our teachers, none of us would be where we are today in our lives. As a parent with children in public school, I see the struggles teachers deal with even more than I did as a student. They do a lot more than just teach reading and writing. I see our teachers finding that little spark of sunshine inside a child and helping them keep it bright. Every day these wonderful people, who have dedicated their lives to growing our sweet souls into educated adults, deal with all kinds of issues that children are living through — and yet, they give students nothing but a smile and kind words of encouragement.

Growing up, my favorite teacher was Mrs. Baker. I went to a small school, so she wore multiple hats. She was my English, media, newspaper and yearbook teacher, on top of being my cheer coach. We loved the days she didn’t remember she had her reading glasses on top of her head and searched the whole classroom for them. As my time in school ended, Mrs. Baker wanted to know what my future plans were in hopes I’d become a writer. Even though I wound up studying computer programming, I am sure Mrs. Baker would be happy to know that I continue to write. From the passion she ignited in me, I have written a children’s book and held a long, successful career in sales, thanks to the public speaking skills I learned in her class.

No words or actions of mine are sufficient enough to repay a teacher when they’ve helped my child with a breakthrough or sparked their new life pursuit. Schools do so many things besides teaching subjects. They build friendships, confidence, and teach us how to interact with all the different people and perspectives we are surrounded by.

Recently, I spent a couple of months providing several schools in my community with snack baskets for all their employees. Although it’s not enough, it was great to see their smiling faces every couple of weeks. They were very happy to have been gifted cookies and chips, but mostly, I think they appreciated knowing we cared and support them.

To all my past teachers, current ones, and those who aspire to teach: thank you for loving our children, helping them find their voices and showing them they can be and do anything they want with the right education. Thank you, Mrs. Baker, and I hope you always know where your reading glasses are these days!

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