By Tonya Andrews, first year AmeriCorps member on the Gossler Park Elementary School team supported by Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Lincoln Financial

In our daily lives how often do we appreciate the people we encounter that even in small ways make a difference to us?  Unfortunately, in my opinion, it is not often enough.  Luckily, appreciations are something we hold dear at City Year because we believe that no act is too small for recognition. While our work can be hard, some days it feels great to know that someone notices your effort: whether it’s a card, or a verbal thank you, appreciations make it a little easier. Throughout the year, it is a part of our organizational culture to make time for City Year corps members and teams to appreciate each other. During teacher appreciation week we are able to bring this piece of our culture into the classroom.

As the year starts to wind down, it only feels natural to look back and think of all the amazing things our partner teachers have done for us and our students. If I think about my partner teacher, Mrs. Whitmore, the first thing that comes to mind is her perseverance. Each day, she comes in with a smile on her face no matter how bad the day before was. This is something she brings into the class and teaches the students.

My City Year Gossler Park team decided to do a collective appreciation for the whole school. We decided to create a candy bar that the entire staff can take from throughout the day. Tatiyana, our Trust and Joy representative, came up with the idea as appreciations are what she loves most. She bought different size buckets and filled them up with Jelly Beans, Reese's, Mints, Blow Pops, Starbursts, and Chocolate Eggs. We set out baggies with tiny shovels and a card letting them know we appreciate what they do. More than anything, we wanted them to know that the whole school is important to City Year not just the people we work with closely. Building that community has been a part of our service all year and now we have brought it to life through candy!

We also each did something different for our partner teachers. For Mrs. Whitmore, I decided to buy her tea, a tea cup, and a tea steeper. In class we are working on persuasive writing so with my 50 Acts lunch groups we wrote a persuasive essay about why Mrs. Whitmore is the best teacher. Miss. Jackie did something similar for her partner teacher by making him a poster and having all the students write why they appreciate him. Miss. Tatiyana also bought Mrs. Willette a gift for her and her new born daughter, while Miss. Alliy made a drawing that says, "Today is Awesome." These are just some of the amazing teacher appreciations we gave to our teachers. Other appreciations included chocolate, homemade cards, and City Year appreciation beads.

This week is an important week for all teachers, to take a moment to say thank you and show our appreciation. We will continue to work side by side through the end of the school year. The City Year Gossler Park team knows that through these last few weeks, our teachers will continue to support us in our work and help us day in and day out. We hope that through our efforts for Teacher Appreciation Week we have let our school know just how much they mean to us. This year has been a gift to us all and we can only hope the teachers understand the role they played in our City Year. 

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