With the school year coming to an end I always end up reflecting on my children's teachers and just what amazing humans they are. So it felt fitting that this week's #WedWowWoman be a teacher.
Meet Julianna Griffin.
A born and raised Philidelphia native with a knack for kids and a love for teaching.
Julianna discovered her love for molding little minds when she participated in an after school program her junior year in high school. Her experiences with the program brought her into real life classrooms and exposed her to the fulfilling and important work of teaching. She continued to uncover her talent for connecting with children while working at summer camps between her own schooling at Lincoln University.
When she graduated from college her previous skills and training led her straight to her current job of teaching Kindergarten in Phillidelphia. When I asked her what her favorite thing about teaching was she said it was the opportunity it gave her to see the excitement on each child as they learn new things. She said watching them actually learning a new skill and seeing them use it was a big pay off for her.
What impressed me the most however, was her response to my question about what the most challenging thing for her as a teacher was. I fully expected it to be something like: dealing with the parents or dealing with constant sickness or germs or the long hours. Responses I'm sure I would have given. No, she responded that the toughest thing for her is being able to meet the needs of all of her students. That kind of answer just goes to show you that she truly cares about her kids.
Unfortunately it's a common struggle for teachers. The ratio of student to teacher is not in favor of either party but yet, somehow teachers manage to fulfill the needs of several kids, every day. Margaret Riel once said that, "being able to teach someone is a talent" and I fully believe that. I believe the best teachers don't just have a talent for it but a passion and courage as well.
Just in my few exchanges with Julianna I can see what an intentional teacher she is. I can tell by the fact that she is currently pursuing her Masters in early childhood education while holding a full time teaching job. I asked her how she manages such a busy schedule and she quickly responded, "by being very organized". Definitely a helpful skill to have as a teacher.
I really can't express just how important the role of teachers are. They help us mold our children for the future. They sometimes spend more time with our kids than we do. Women like Julianna are vital to society's success and we need to figure out a way to pay them, all teachers, better and appreciate them more.
Moral of the story:
Teachers like Julianna are gold. Their contribution to our society is immeasurable. Let's help our kids understand how important they are and do it with our actions and words. One of the best ways I know we can do that isn't by just thanking them ourselves but by teaching our kids how to thank them.
Talk to your child about what it means to be a teacher. Ask them what they think about their teacher and have them fill out the "My Teacher" page for them to take to their teacher. Teachers don't often get to hear how much their students really love them because of the busy schedule and the fact that they are out numbered so this is a great way for them to feel personal love from your child.
Here are some of examples from my kids:
Questions for discussion:
What do you think it is like being a teacher?
What do you think would be difficult as a teacher?
What could you do as a student to help your teacher with that challenge?
What parts about being a teacher do you think you would like?
What do you like about your teacher?
Does your teacher know you appreciate her?
How could you show her that you do?
The Julianna Teacher T-shirt
Unique designed T shirt for the teachers in your life. For pre order only until May 22nd. Orders will be shipped by May 31st.
Proceeds of each sell will go toward Julianna and her students.