To the educational assistant who shares this classroom with me:

I know you’ve heard me say thank-you to the students in the class, maybe for excellent behaviour or for doing great work, for sharing their thoughts on a topic or helping out a peer, perhaps for all the pictures, cards, paintings, and notes that cover the bulletin board in front of my desk. You’ve probably heard me say thank-you to them for just being who God made them and for being a special part of this classroom community.

And you’ve probably heard me say thank-you to the parent helpers who have led centres, helped with art projects and did one-on-one reading. You’ve seen thank-you notes go home for special presentations, snacks, and field trip supervision that they have provided.

You’ve heard us discuss as a class how we need to say thank you to the PAC for organizing pizza lunches and helping out at special activities, to the grade five students for chapel set-up and collecting our recycling, to the office staff for making phone calls home and finding forms or missing handouts, to the janitors for keeping our classrooms swept and vacuumed.

But sometimes, I think, I forget to say it to you. I know, I know, it’s your job; you are doing what is required of you as it’s what brings in the paycheck. But I still want to say thank you—for doing all that is required AND the extras, the above-and-beyond, the over-the-top stuff you do.

 Cleaning up, gluing, and caring so much

You design learning activities, adapting them in a flash as needed, and we often work together to modify plans so that the assigned student will learn and thrive. You have the creativity to find just the right activity or the perfect replacement worksheet to help your student learn alongside the rest.

You “go-with-the-flow” when I change the schedule, forget to tell you about a special activity, or even need to deal with students in the hallway to solve the latest recess issue. You help in the clean-up of  centres and art activities, whether it be encouraging students to do their part or volunteering to do it while the rest of the class moves on to the next thing, so I won’t have a mess to deal with at the end of the day.

You volunteer to grade papers, hang art projects, glue pieces into student scrapbooks if the time and students allow for it. You save me precious time!

You encourage students–the ones you are assigned to, but also the others–the friends, the struggling, or the group members. You model how to care so they will grow up to care the generous way you do.

Making me laugh

While that doesn’t even encompass all you do for the students, it doesn’t even start to explain what you have done for me. You keep me accountable to my lesson plans and teaching strategies. You force me to think about the learning needs of each student. You encourage me as a teacher. You make me want to teach better, learn more, grow deeper. You make me laugh! Don’t we all need that?

You encourage me as a mom and a wife, as Christian and a child of God. You share stories and experiences from your life, and shed light in situations where I didn’t see it. You listen, offer advice, work hard, and spread joy. You are a colleague and a friend.

So, if I haven’t said it to you enough; thank you!


The classroom teacher