Monday, November 23, 2015

How Do I Thank Thee? Let Me Count The Ways

Teaching can be a solitary and often thankless job:  Teachers toil and burn the midnight oil, children’s tempers boil, administrators may foil sound lesson ideas, and education in the U.S. roils with reformers and politicians who think they know what ails the teaching profession.  It’s enough to spoil the idealism of people who want to help children and adults reach their fullest potential by providing them with the best education they possibly can.  In today’s climate, educators rarely get a shout out for all the good they do.
I want to change that and give my thanks to some deserving educators:

1) First off, many thanks to SHELLY REES and APPLETASTIC LEARNING.  We connected through TpT when she offered sellers the opportunity to have one of their products professionally printed and spiral bound.  I jumped at the chance to see what C is for China, my ABC book about that country, would look like, since it’s one of my favorite products.  It also pushed me to update the product with more content, which I’d been planning to do but hadn’t gotten around to yet.
ABC China book bound by Appletastic Learning on The ESL Connection
Cover of the ABC China book; for more information, click HERE
I emailed the document to Shelly and a day later received a response.  She had a few concerns about some of the pages—she thought they might not print out well.  We emailed back and forth and I made some changes.  I really appreciated Shelly’s attention to detail and quality control as it would have been very easy, and definitely faster, to just print out what I’d sent instead of helping me make my product better.  It only took one day to resolve things: Customer service was great!  A day later, I was notified that a package from Appletastic Learning was on its way to me.  It was sent by Media Mail and took just six days to reach me.
ABC China book bound by Applestastic Learning on The ESL Connection
Table of contents for C is for China -- The text came out very clear and easy to read
The hardest part of this entire project was opening the package!  That’s because it was wrapped extremely well.  But when I saw my C is for China book, I was absolutely thrilled!  The front and back covers look gorgeous because they are printed on laminated cardstock paper.  The pages inside, despite being printed in black-and-white from color images, look great, too.  It’s good to know that the product can be printed either way and it'll come out fine regardless.  Every time I look at the book, I just want to go out and share it with students; I'm that pleased with it.
Pages from C is for China; on the left are the pages that were revised as per Shelly's recommendation -- different maps were included that would print out better
So, Shelly, thank you so very much!  I am truly grateful for your generous offer and am glad to know about Appletastic Learning as a resource for educators.  You can learn more about her great company HERE.

More people I'd like to thank:

2) MRS. VANDERCORE was my kindergarten teacher in New Jersey.  Well, after all this time, I’m not sure I have her name right but it was something like that.  I’m thanking her for teaching us kids how to count from 1 – 10 in French.  I clearly remember sitting on the ground in a circle on the school playground as she taught us how to say the numbers in French.  That undoubtedly was the beginning of my life-long interest in learning about other cultures.

3) MR. SMYRL, my 6th grade teacher in Pennsylvania.  He made learning fun.  So did MR. WILLIAMS, my 10th grade English teacher in New Jersey.  Thank you both.

4) Thanks also to PROFESSOR STULTZ, who taught my favorite course in college, about the politics of Southern Africa, and helped inspire in me a desire to go to Africa, culminating in my going to Sierra Leone as a Peace Corps Volunteer after I graduated.

5) TINA, my Chinese language tutor at the first university I worked at in China.  She and her husband made me feel welcome and her lessons taught me, someone who knew no Chinese upon arrival there, how to manage my everyday living and also enabled me to travel around the country by myself after just six months in China.  Xie xie!  (Thank you in Mandarin.)

Lets focus on the positive and why everyone should be thankful for the education they received from their teachers instead of harping on what's wrong with education nowadays.  Who are some educators you would like to thank?  Even if they never see your comments, letting others know who these teachers are is a powerful affirmation of the impact they have had.  Please share your gratitude below.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!