Saturday, May 03, 2014

Thank a Teacher

I'm getting ready to head to Tasby Middle School for their very first "She Matters" conference for their middle school girls.

It's Saturday. The conference starts at 9:00. As a speaker, I know I need to be there by about 8:30 to make sure all of my stuff works and that everything is set up. I'm dragging my feet thinking, It's Saturday! I'll get there as late as possible. Ms. Small has assured me that she'll be there by 8:00 in case any of us want to arrive that early to get set up.

A week from Friday, there will be another event at Tasby. They're going to have their very first Career Day. Since it's their first year, they are starting small...with just the 8th graders. Ms. Childers, the librarian, is in charge of that one. She is recruiting doctors, nurses, scientists, and I can't remember the other fields, to speak to the kids in a hopefully engaging way. She has struggled to get people to commit. Many are "too busy." She keeps working...making phone calls, sending emails, asking for more contacts. Yet, with all of that, the other thing she is trying to do is to get someone to sponsor goodie bags for the speakers so she can thank them for coming. (the school doesn't have the funds to pay for thank you gifts)

As I thought about my lethargy on a Saturday morning, it then dawned on me... this makes for a 6-day work week for Ms. Small. Not only has she worked 40 hours/week teaching kids, for the last month or so, she's been also planning this conference for the girls. And it's not only Ms. Small who will be at the school today. Many other teachers will arrive (as they do every Saturday to teach Saturday school) to complete their 6-day work week.

I thought about how I've hesitated when Ms. Childers asks me to speak on Fridays (which is usually my day off) and how she's so gracious and apologetic when she really needs a speaker and has to ask me despite knowing it's my day off. Yet, she's the one going above and beyond to plan this out for our children...yes, OUR children...OUR future leaders.

Not only should I not be complaining, I should be taking Ms. Small and Ms. Childers thank you gifts for working so hard to provide OUR children with a vision for their future instead of expecting them to thank me.

If you're ever asked to speak at a school, I would encourage you to prepare well, make it engaging and enjoyable...and be sure to thank the teachers who invited you. Maybe even take them a gift card or something. They deserve it. They're working hard to make the world a better place for all of us.

P.S. And if any of you are interested in speaking...about your career, your pathway to college, your experiences growing up, let me know. I'll pass the information on to some teachers who just might want to utilize your experience one of these days.
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