Dear Teachers,

It's that time of year. The time when you watch the clock a bit closer during those last few hours of the day. The time when the excitement of hearing the final bell ring on the last day of school almost has you screaming "hooray" as loud as the students. It's the end of the school year, and although I know you love your job, I know it's no small task for educators to maintain the start-of-the-school-year enthusiasm to the end of June. I get it.

I get that you wonder what you will do with all of those "Worlds Greatest Teacher" gifts, yet you treasure them all. I get that there are days when you long for conversations with anyone over 15. I get that you would once love to wear uncomfortable shoes to work and make it through the day minus blisters. I get that you work hours well beyond a normal school day's first and last bell. I get that you have spent your own money to create a learning environment for each of your students that have now become "your kid" because the funds aren't there within your district. I get that you wonder how you will give that special attention to student in an overcrowded classroom and still get the job done. I get that you head home at the end of the day with exhaustion that can barely get you through the door and face hours of papers to grade. I get that the workload is never ending at times.

I get that your heart was broke while you comforted a child who had been bullied on the playground and that you cried knowing a student was being abused at home and wished you could take them away from that hell and love them the way every child deserves. I get that you see a child struggle with special needs and strive to give them every opportunity to be all they can be while facing obstacles you take to heart. I get that you gave your time and love to raise funds for a student who was battling a disease and then lost the fight, and you collapsed in tears when nobody was around.

I get that you became a teacher to make a difference and sometimes feel you are fighting a losing battle. I get that you watch your salary deplete and struggle with whether or not your passion for teaching is even worth it anymore. I get that the shortage of teachers is growing because your vocation is disrespected and minimized in importance. I get that you look at your paycheck and your student loans and wonder how and why? I get that you will take a summer job just to make ends meet. I get that your voice isn't being heard and you are frustrated with the lack of say you have in your districts student decisions and curriculum. I get that you would discourage anyone from going into the education field the way it is today for many reasons at times. I get it all.

I am the proud mother of an education major at Michigan State University. I am proud because she has chosen a career that will allow her to impact and change lives. I am proud because she made this choice because of a teacher. A teacher just like you. A teacher that had days of frustration and tears, but more importantly a teacher who loved her job. A teacher that taught for the love of the job and nothing else. A teacher that left her mark on my child and I am sure many many more.

So Dear Teachers, I get it. You're tired, overworked, underappreciated, underpaid and it's the end of the year. And because you are a rare and wonderful person you will start the journey all over again in September with a smile and enthusiasm. It's who you are. A teacher. Our greatest resource and hope for raising bright and caring children that will hopefully have that passion to make a difference just like you. I get it. And I thank you.

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