Teacher Appreciation:  Thank you from a High Schooler

Hi.  I’m Darby.  I get to wrap the week of Teacher Appreciation with my post.  

Teachers are some of the most influential people we will ever meet in our lives. Many high school students don’t realize it, but our teachers have shaped who we are, how we act and what we will take with us beyond school.  

Most things change as we get older.

But some things remain the same.

Cathy and the girls

We all learned to color but we’ve learned that lines are too restricting so sometimes we have to draw our own pictures.



5th grade camp 014 (1)


We learned to read but now read books and poems, and plays from hundreds of years ago.




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We wrote but now we write debate speeches, our own poetry and many things under 140 characters.



Field trip to Cowboys and Rangers 069


We listened but now we listen to each other, the news, and the media.



Aug. 2007-Dec. 2007 211


We sang “Tony Chestnut” in the car but, well, I still sing “Tony Chestnut” in the car.  🙂



Thinking of all the amazing teachers and mentors I’ve had in my life, the only thing I can say is Thank You.

TDArby 1hank you for pouring love,


and knowledge

into my brain daily.




Thank you for pushing me,

accepting me

And seeing potential in me.



DarbyBut most importantly, thank you for the relationships.

You’ve bought me lunch,

asked me to babysit your own kiddos,

hugged me when I was stressed,

called to check on me,

believed in me when I felt alone,

and been my best friend.

I’ve laughed, cried, learned, grown and smiled because of you.  

Thank you and I love you.

Allyson and Darby

Teacher Appreciation: This one goes out to MY Teachers

This one goes out to my teachers. You shaped me into the person I am today.    You shaped me into the teacher I am today.  You are the reason this week exist.   



Mrs. Carr:  Kindergarten:  You are the reason I wanted to be a Kindergarten teacher.  You showed me the importance of waiting my turn, sticking together and naps in the afternoon are always a good idea.  You helped me fall in love with school, books and the sound of poetry.





Mrs. Rolen:  1st Grade:  You spent countless hours with me teaching me to read.  You never let me give up on myself. You didn’t know at the time that I was dyslexic but you taught me all the strategies I needed to be a good reader and writer.  I had the chicken pox at Christmas time that year.  You took time to come over to my house to bring me my gift from you.  We still put the ornament on my parent’s Christmas tree each year.  



Mrs. James: 2nd Grade:  You had a magical way of making each child feel special.  I will never forget when one of my classmates brought in glow in the dark crayons. You let us all color with them and then turned off all of the lights. The next day, all of our pictures were hanging in your supply closet.   You also had a laugh that shook the walls.  I still smile when I think about it.




Shall-Remain-Nameless: 3rd Grade:  You taught me everything I didn’t want to be as a teacher.  I actually think you hated kids and teaching. You made me feel stupid because I couldn’t read as fast or as well as the others. You also didn’t know I was dyslexic and you gave up on me.  I don’t remember anything from this year besides the fact that I hated school. In hindsight, I now know why my mom volunteered in your classroom so much…she was trying to protect me from you.  Because of you, I never forget that a teacher has a choice to make a positive or negative impact.



Mrs. Lowe:  4th Grade:  You saved me.  You made me think I could do anything.  You turned learning into something fun. You always had time for me and I believe you started the differentiated learning model.  You found a way to teach each child individually.  You made me the lead in the play. You made me enter the spelling bee. You gave me hope and you are the reason I am able to teach others to read today.  




Mrs. Hendricks: 5th Grade:  You are the reason that I love to read out loud to kids.  You spent every day after lunch reading to us. Where the Red Fern Grows and Old Yeller   You taught me to love a good story.  You always brought in the government issued peanuts (I guess our school was poor…who knew?) Gave everyone a few and read to us.  You cried and we cried. You laughed and we laughed. You read so we read.




Mrs. Saucier:  6th Grade:  You are the reason I can still recite from memory the poem of Little Orphan Annie.  You also made me realize I love poetry and words.  You also are the reason so many of my kids had to memorize poems, pick parts in plays and listen to me read while I sat on a stool.  You made me realize words can free you and that is a wonderful thing.



Mrs. Bona:  6th Grade-8th Grade:  You are the reason I always say “mathematics”.  Not math or arithmetic. Mathematics. And my kids love that I call numbers that.  You taught me to question myself and others. You made me realize that working out all of the steps to a problem, was necessary sometimes.  You also are the reason I LOVE a sharp pencil. Like really…sharp pencils make me HAPPY!  (You are the real MVP for not making fun of the way I looked. JEEEZZ)



img_6750.jpgMr. and Mrs. Mattei, Mr. Snyder, Mr. and Mrs. Holbrook:  You gave me the love of music. You didn’t judge me because I didn’t practice as much as the person next to me.  You always found a way to push me but knew that I had a hundred other things in which I was involved. You made marching on Monday nights fun. But most of all, you wonderful people, taught me that precision was important and that you should always show up and do your best because a hundred other people were depending on you.  


Mr. B:  9-12 math:  You taught me that if you love a bunch of kiddos, you should move up with them every year.  (HeeHee) You taught me to check it and check it again. You helped me see the power of working with others and pushed us to excellence. You laughed with us and cried with us.  You also made me see the possibility of a train leaving Chicago and a train leaving Nashville actually colliding. I’m still trying to solve this one. 🙂


Coach Marquart:  basketball and volleyball – You showed me the value of hard work.  You are the reason when I am meeting a group of new students, need to present at a meeting, or when we are having a STAAR test, I wear high heel shoes! You always said, “Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good!”  And even today, it works.



Coach Jones:  History  – You taught me to have fun.  To laugh. To sing. To go to my student’s activities.  You are the reason I hug kids. You always made us feel like we were your favorite student.  Of course, I think I was but I won’t tell the others.


Mr. Hendricks:  You are responsible for my wonderful driving, my love of baseball and my husband. (thank you so much) You had me drive you to every game and taught me how to keep books.  You taught me how to act when I won and what to do when I lost. You listened to me talk but most of all you taught me when to stay quiet.

Mr. Fagala and Mr. Smith:  You two guys let a small little girl enjoy her time in the AG shop.  You wouldn’t let me be intimidated by a bunch of boys and taught me how to weld, milk a cow and take care of an animal.  You showed me that I could be the FFA sweetheart but also the top of my class when laying down a bead on metal. (Sorry John)





Mrs. Smith:  English and Volleyball – You, you sweet lady are the reason I teach.  The reason I build relationships with kids. The reason I write today to say thank you.  You checked on me, took me to dinner and prayed for me.  You treated each of us like family and made decisions that were best for us, even if they weren’t popular and told us why.  Every day when I walked out of your room, I knew you loved me.  It’s the feeling I try to give children every day.

Thank you seems so simple. But Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I love all of you.  


P.S.:  I would love to take all of you out to dinner but you guys know what I make.  haha


Teacher Appreciation:  A Letter to Myself

Let’s just be frank, no one remembers the first year of teaching so I’m not going to waste time talking to that young dreamer.  This post will be to the Year 2 me. The year I realized that I DID NOT know what I was doing!!


Dearest Young, Childless, Fresh-out-of-college Allyson,

Hi.  How are you?  I’ve been thinking a lot about you.  You have a boundless amount of energy, you are working so hard to be better and sweetie, you’ve realized that diploma hanging on your wall is just a piece of paper.  I know you are a little scared and wondering if this is the place for you. The University of North Texas did its best to teach you about the real world of teaching, but they didn’t.  They told you a lot of things NOT to do but not enough of WHAT to do.

So I’m going to shoot you straight.  I love you and hate to see you burn out.  I’m going to tell you what they were afraid to tell you.  Please listen to me because you have a lot to learn.

Find your People:  That is a great place to start.  People that can make paper mache with you at midnight, eat dinner at Pizza Inn after you have planned for 8 hours for a one hour lesson and laugh with you when you are lost in Dallas on a Thursday Night while trying to do a good deed. They will sometimes be the reason you get up in the morning.

Listen to the children:  Behavior management doesn’t always go as planned.  That cool behavior plan your college professor told you about, well that was a fictional class, and it’s not working.  Some days the children in your room just need you to sit and listen to them. They need you to get to know them. They want you to ask them what is wrong and when they can’t tell you, they need you to just hug them.  They need you to call their parents, grandparents and Child Protective Services some days because many times you are all they’ve got.

Dress the Part:  Girl, you are rocking the teacher style; that Laura Ashley dress your Momma made, those blue jean jumpers, those Peter Pan collars, that amazing Eagle Eye seasonal sweater, the apple button covers, earrings, and necklaces. Again, you are rocking it.   Keep up the good work! And while we are on the topic, wear a pretty dress and lipstick on the first day and the last day of the year. The kids will remember it. PSA: All of the above will be worn again at a Christmas School Party in 2017, so hang on to them.


Have fun with the kids. Play at recess. Dress up on dress up days. Dance at Mav Fan Jams. Dress and sing like Beyonce.  Play games, put together puzzles and just sit down sometimes and paint with them. (Don’t worry, you did these things and are still doing these things but there might be a young teacher reading this.)



Make friends with the teachers with the most experience and learn as much as you can from them.   (This one deserved a whole sentence underlined.)  The people you surround yourself with can push you to new heights, hold you in place or bring you down.  So find the experienced and stick with them. They have seen it all and would love to help you. Let them. They aren’t scared of you either.  They actually enjoy your fresh view on teaching. Hug them, listen to them and then thank them every chance you get.

Mental Health Days…Take them:  First – start with you.  Ask your bestie to take off too.  Go to a crazy Christmas bazaar or lunch or shopping or go home and just take a nap without your personal children.  Then, take a mental health day to be with your own children when they are NOT sick. One day will not destroy a whole year worth of loving and learning other people’s children.  Your own children deserve it.

Speaking of mental health: A child’s mental health is more important than their grades.  Everyone has a chapter they don’t read out loud. So listen but also talk to them.  Laugh but also show them when to be serious. Sometimes let a rule be broken but also demand respect. But never let a child go home thinking you don’t care about them because they will never forget how you made them feel.

Just a few more things:

*Buy good shoes and don’t worry about how cute they are or how much they cost.  Jeremy won’t mind.

*Never pass up an opportunity to pee. They are few a far between sweetie!

*Don’t be scared to say you don’t agree with something you think isn’t good for children.  But do your research so you can back it up.

*You will be a better teacher when you have your own children.  (This one took 9 years for you to realize but you finally did and you know it’s the truth.)

*You will always have papers to grade, emails to answer and lessons to write, so please spend your weekends with the people you love the most.

*If a kiddo offers you a cookie, cupcake or other treat that they personally made, take it.  (Now I’m not saying you have to eat it. But act like you can’t wait to eat it after school and then find a special place for it.)

*Sometimes it takes years for you to see the difference you are making. Don’t give up.  

*Never ever complain about a student, their parent or how hard you work, in public. You learned this lesson the hard way. Just saying!

*Learn to say “I’m sorry!”  See above.

And last, there will be heartache and disappointment, but without going all in, you have no chance of making a difference. So go to ball games, plays, concerts, and funerals of your students. And that last one sucks.  But go, it will make you see the difference you made.

And never, ever, ever doubt the importance of what you do!

I love you and go be amazing!!

The Older, Momma of two, 26 years-out-of-college Allyson


Teacher Appreciation: Thank you for doing a job we couldn’t!

Teachers have hidden talents.  Just ask the kids in these teacher’s classrooms.


Gene Simmons:  He taught 6th Grade in Harlem.  He got in a lot of trouble because he thought the kids in his class would rather read Spiderman Comics than Shakespeare. So during the unit on Shakespeare, all of the kiddos broke out comics that he had provided.  Everyone was busy reading, laughing, having fun and in walked the principal. He said there was no way kids could be having this much fun in English and that is how he got busted. His principal asked him to not come back after one year.  Gene Simmons and the KISS crew would like to thank you for all of the materials you buy out of your own pocket and trying to find something your kiddos would love to read.


Alexander Graham Bell:  The telephone pioneer got his start teaching Visible Speech at the Boston School for Deaf Mutes.  One of which was Helen Keller. When asked what was the most important part of teaching, he said relationships. Even in the 1890’s, relationships were the game changer in his classroom.  Mr. Bell would like to say thank you for loving those that learn differently, hear differently, and think differently.


Sting:  Before he became a star with The Police, Sting taught English, music, and soccer at St. Catherine’s Convent School. Matter of fact, he received his nickname from his students because he often wore a black and yellow striped sweater to immediately play Jazz gigs after school.  Sting said the greatest part of teaching was hearing from the children that sat in his classroom seats. You have made a lasting impression on your teacher’s hearts too. So Sting would like to thank you for always remembering those faces. (I would like to say that I remember all of my student’s names but y’all sometimes I look at a kiddo and can.not.for.the.life.of.me remember their name. So everyone is sweetie.)

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Robert Frost:   I think this one is the funniest!!!  He worked as a teacher to supplement his income. He worked as both a farmer and teacher (really great paying jobs haha) at the Pinkerton Academy in Derry, New Hampshire. His students called him “the Hen Man” because the poet was afraid of chickens in the schoolyard. Frost had trouble remembering to milk the school’s cows on time and was almost fired because of it. He said writing was a lot easier than farming or teaching. So Robert Frost would like to thank all of you for your hard work and he wants you to remember that even if the kids make fun of you, they are doing it because they love you!

Lyndon_B_Johnson-H.jpegLyndon Johnson:  The man who would later become the 36th president got his start as a principal at the Mexican-American Welhausen School in Cotulla, Texas before he even finished his teaching degree. He then decided he wanted to teach because he liked the children more than the adults (heehee) and became the debate team coach.   His team lost the Texas state championship by a single point and Johnson supposedly had to vomit backstage before he could bring himself to congratulate the winners. Johnson would like to thank all of you that put in the extra hours coaching, sponsoring and leading teams, clubs and groups.


Art Garfunkel: I can’t speak for Paul Simon, but at least half of Simon and Garfunkel was really, really good at math. Garfunkel nearly earned a doctorate in the subject and was teaching math at the Litchfield Preparatory School in Connecticut when “Bridge Over Troubled Water” soared to the top of the charts.  So I’m sure he would give a shout out to all of the teachers that allow children to listen to music while they work.


They would all like to say thank you for continuing to do a job that they couldn’t.  You are amazing!



Teacher Appreciation: Thank you from a College Freshman

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week at my school this week.  It is a week of smiles, notes, flowers out of gardens, sweets and Starbucks gift cards. Teachers everywhere will accept gifts with happy hearts and make the giver feel that it was the best gift they’ve been given in years.  Words sometimes are the best gifts of all so…

Post #1 comes from my college freshman:  


Yes, I know, I know.  My generation is not known for sitting around talking about how great our teachers have been to us.  Heck, we don’t sit around much and even talk. I also know that the gift card to Starbucks my mom made me give to you, really doesn’t let you know how much I care.  But, I’m getting to write the first post of the week so here is my way of saying Thank you for 13 years of loving me.

  1.  My teachers had a big hand in raising me. You provided a second environment in which I had to practice respect, obedience, teamwork, and diligence. You held me to high standards, insisted on kindness and respect and sometimes told me, “This work is not your best. I will see you at recess.” I learned from you that doing it right the first time is a lot easier. And when I struggled, you pulled up a seat next to me and helped me. You didn’t look down on me or blame my parents for my shortcomings…you helped ME. 

  2. My teachers saw the good in me. Even when I was down and out, you found a way to pick me up and make me feel I could do anything. You didn’t give up on me and didn’t allow me to give up on myself. You modeled that in your teaching. You kept trying! Even when a lesson didn’t go the way you thought it should, you kept teaching.  (and we really didn’t notice either.)

  3. My teachers had a hard job. Yes, I’m the daughter of two school teachers. Yes, I know the countless hours you spend trying to make each lesson meaningful and FUN. But I also know the time you think about the one student that didn’t make it to school that day. I know you were trying to extend the thinking of some while trying not to kill the creativity in others.

  4.  My teachers had to be tired. Yep, you coached, lead, sponsored, and directed. You come early and stayed late for the students that couldn’t get it, didn’t finish it, needed your one-on-one time. You wore bandanas on field day, dressed in costumes for Red Ribbon Week and attended weekend volleyball and football matches. You danced in front of us and you didn’t mind that we were watching.

  5.  Your life matters and your legacy will go on. You are sending out the thinkers, innovators, life coaches, and leaders of tomorrow. So please remember, when you are grading papers at 10:30 at night, pinning that awesome idea on Pinterest, jumping out of bed to write that kid a note, we see you, we appreciate you…heck, we freaking love you.

  6.  Even when you teach Freshman in college, the smiley face and encouraging words matter. Really, this is my college calculus teacher.  Even though I am 19, she makes me feel like I can do it.  Like many of my teachers, she gives me feedback and encouragement.  Thank you for continuing to push me, smiling at me and telling me I am excellent.  

I noticed all you did for me.  My classmates noticed all you did for them.  And we thank you for everything!