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Looking for a team bonding activity that gets people talking, laughing and learning together? Share stories that inspire teacher appreciation! Stories about the teachers we appreciate are a window into our own values and aspirations, and telling and listening to these stories with coworkers helps us connect and builds a culture of gratitude. A broad interpretation of “teacher” can include anyone whose knowledge and influence had a lasting impact.

Broadening the Definition of Teacher

In an older, yet still extremely relevant, newspaper article in the LA Times, members of the newsroom shared their thoughts on teachers. Journalist Dexter Thomas calls for a broad interpretation of “teacher” to include anyone whose knowledge and influence had a lasting impact.

“We seem to view ‘teacher’ too narrowly. A lot of the people who made me who I am today didn’t have teaching credentials. Some of them I’ve never even met,” Thomas wrote. “So as we were talking about teachers in the Los Angeles Times newsroom today, I realized —  we’ve all been influenced by a variety of people. You’ve probably got a favorite childhood teacher or coach. You probably owe your sense of fashion, or music sense, or interest in a hobby, to some influential person.”

Workplace mentors also count! We all have a coworker, boss or other influential person in our life who teaches us new skills, motivates us to do our best work and keeps us on track in moments of doubt.
Read on for three great stories to inspire teacher appreciation this week.

Who are you going to reach out and thank for changing your life?

Three Stories to Inspire Teacher Appreciation

Be inspired to seek out and thank your own favorite teachers and mentors — and ask others to share their stories with you!

1. “She Made Every Single Student In That Class Feel Special”
Former president Barack Obama reflects on being “a kid with a funny name in a new school” when he entered Ms. Hefty’s fifth grade class in the fall of 1971. She called on him to speak in class even when he felt self-conscious in front of his peers. Slowly, he got used to it.

Ms. Hefty “taught me that I had something to say — not in spite of my differences, but because of them. She made every single student in that class feel special,” he shared. “And she reinforced that essential value of empathy that my mother and my grandparents had taught me. That is something that I carry with me every day.”

2. “You Never Gave Up On Me”
A police department in Florida received a note from a local high school senior wishing one of their officers a “Happy Teacher/Mentor Appreciation Week.”

The note articulates the best qualities of any great mentor:

“You’ve helped me so much with getting back on track to graduate, or when if I was having a bad day I could just come to your office and vent to you about what’s going on at home … When I walk across that stage I’m going to give you the biggest hug ever because you made this possible for me. You never gave up on me, and that’s what I cherish most.”

3. It’s Never Too Late!

Have you ever done social media sleuthing to locate long-lost teachers? Have you ever sent a note out of the blue to tell that special teacher what an impact he or she had on your life? Here are some great tips for what you can say — and it will go a long way!

Comedian Desus Nice inspired a whole bunch of people to look up old teachers with this tweet:

Tweet about finding old teachers
This triggered a whole movement of people finding out what happened to their old teachers and even contacting them and reconnecting with them.

kids reading a bookHere are some of our favorites from “100 Best Teacher Appreciation Thank You Notes Ever Written“:

#8. You expected me to succeed, and this motivated me to keep trying until I did. You set the bar high, and I learned more than I thought I could. You taught me that I am smarter than I thought and that failure is okay as long as I pick myself up and try again. Thank you for believing in me.

#15. You have taught me a vast number of invaluable things. Through obstacles and difficult days, you have kept a cool head and a warm heart. Meeting a person like you is rare, let alone having the privilege of them being your teacher! Thank you, truly and sincerely.

#30. To an extraordinary leader, a magnificent mentor and an unparalleled teacher. My gratefulness goes out to you today, and forever after. Thank you for all that you do.

Download our free eBook “Transform Your Workplace With Gratitude” for practical advice on recruiting and retaining a great workforce, engaging employees and building a sustainable culture of gratitude. Plus, find more ways to inspire teacher appreciation.

Download the FREE Workplace Gratitude Guide Now! 

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