Words of ‘thanks’ during Teachers Appreciation Week

Tech. Sgt. Mona Ferrell
U.S. Air Forces in Europe Public Affairs

(Editor’s note: May 2 to 8 is Teachers Appreciation Week)

I’m a mother, so I worry a lot. It comes with the title; if you don’t believe me, ask your mother. Like most women who hold the title of mom, one of my biggest concerns is my child’s development.
Motherhood is a job I take seriously. So, when Jack’s first several years of life quickly passed and he was suddenly old enough for pre-kindergarten – the worried, protective side of me came to the forefront.
Although I had already met and talked with his new teachers, Jack’s first afternoon at one of the local Department of Defense Dependent Schools here was extremely stressful; not so much for him but for me. A myriad of questions raced through my mind. How will he do without a nap? Was he going to cry all day, overwhelmed by his new environment?
It didn’t take long for those fears to be allayed. After his first afternoon, I got a phone call from Jack’s teacher letting me know how he did. And now through daily progress reports, notes and e-mails this type of thoughtful discourse continues. His teachers interact with my husband and I so that we’re on the same page with his requirements and homework. Good or bad, I always know how his day went.
With open arms and enough patience and love to fill a hangar, Jack’s teachers are tailoring his day-to-day curriculum as they continue to help develop his social, reasoning and problem-solving skills; the very tools that will increase his potential for future success — both academically and in life. While I think Jack’s teachers are extraordinary, they’re not the only ones.
According to DODDS-Europe officials, approximately 100,000 students attend one of 222 DODDS schools spread out in 14 different countries around the world. And countless more children are educated in our stateside public school system. Regardless of their age or grade, these students, our sons and daughters, are taught by people who dedicate their lives creating learning environments that challenge, stimulate and mold the minds of our nation’s future leaders. An awe-inspiring task when you think about it.
These same teachers, who may say they’re just doing their job, are actually doing much more. As military members and parents – whether we are crew chiefs, security forces members or air traffic controllers – we’re able to do our job better and with less worry because of the ceaseless allegiance to education found in our child’s teachers.
I am appreciative that there are teachers who spend their days patiently providing a nurturing learning experience. Sure, I still worry sometimes … but that’s what mothers do.