Parents and Teachers at the The International School of Monterey Appreciate their Teachers
In the fall of 2020, Sean Madden, the principal of the International School of Monterey (ISM), and his Assistant Principal for School Culture & Community, Susie Shin-Ma, launched a teacher appreciation campaign at their school. With sample email messages provided by Teacher Stories, they invited the school's parents and students to submit written appreciations for their teachers.
This occurred in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when all classes were being conducted virtually, when teachers, parents, and students had no face-to-face-content with one another. Teachers and administrators at ISM were scrambling ensure the technology was working properly, that teachers, students, and parents had all of the support they needed to optimize learning.
Implementing a new initiative, especially a non-essential one like a teacher appreciation campaign, was likely a low priority for these administrators, but after realizing the potential benefits in terms of the emotional boost such a campaign might be for the whole school community, and after seeing how easy it would be to get it off the ground, they modified the sample email messages Teacher Stories staff gave them and sent them to students and parents simply asking them to express a word of gratitude for their teachers.
Within two weeks students and parents ISM had submitted over 100 appreciations. A student named Remi wrote this about her teacher, Mr. Mathews:
"I am thankful you are always there whether I am struggling in math or just for any class like design. I appreciate how you always give us chances to speak and how when we do not know the answer you do not judge us for us being confused. Thank you for being a good teacher and helping me when I need it."
Cathy Nuovo, a parent, shared this note of gratitude for Ms. Sullivan, her child's 4th grade teacher: "Your patience, enthusiasm and kindness have not gone unnoticed during this year of online distance learning. You are such an amazing example of a teacher who goes the extra mile to make sure your students are all on the same page. It's not an easy task to keep 4th graders engaged especially in these trying times...We thank you for setting up extra time out of your already busy day to help [our daughter] excel in her studies. You are a true 'gem' Ms. Sullivan, and for you we are truly grateful."
Mr. Cornfield, a 2nd grade teacher, expressed this sentiment about the appreciations he received from a student and parent: "Receiving those kind words was incredibly sweet! Teaching can sometimes be a thankless job, but I feel very fortunate to work at a school where there's a strong sense of community and appreciation; we are often reminded (even in little ways) what our impact is on our students and their families, and hearing it from an outside source (TeacherStories.org) was pretty awesome. It made me feel like my impact is going beyond just the walls of my classroom (er, I guess right now, the screen of my Zoom!)."
After seeing many of the appreciations that had been submitted for many ISM teachers, school principal Mr. Madden sent this message to Teacher Stories:
"Thank you again for creating this fantastic interface for students and families to tell their Teacher Stories. The success of our recent invitation is a tribute to how great our teachers really are as well as how easy and inviting you have made the interface for recognizing them."