Teachers are some of the most important people we come across in our lives. They are not only selfless givers, but they are often mentors. It is more than just the subjects they teach, they can become role models, guiding young people and helping them make the right decisions and the correct life choices.
Sometimes there are specific moments in young people's lives where a teacher really makes a difference, when their entire direction changes. It might be in the form of encouragement, it might also be in the form of advice, pointing out the paths that are available and enabling students to make a more informed choice.
One such epiphany happened to Andrew Thomas the Principle of Al Ain English Language School in Abu Dhabi after a teacher had taken the time to ask about his ambitions and more importantly, how he was going to reach them; she gave him the confidence to go out and achieve them.
"It was like a train had just hit me for the better, I felt like a giant, the sense of how proud I felt, believing that I could become a teacher."
When people have moments like these, life changing and life defying moments, they don't always realise the importance of them, and don't feel the need to thank that teacher until after the event; it could be weeks, months or even years until they understand the true impact of that teacher and there isn't always a way to express that gratitude.
If we can make our schools become more thankful environments, it makes it easier for students, and their parents, to express gratitude, even if the gratitude is expressed after the lightbulb moment!
We can go even further though, if our teachers are happy, then the students will be happy too. Creating an appreciative atmosphere amongst school staff will make the whole school more positive. If teachers appreciate each other, that will rub off onto the students.
Teaching is more than a job it is a vocation; teachers don't necessarily expect the thanks from their colleagues, parents and pupils. They often join the education sector because they themselves have been inspired by their own teachers and want to have the same effect on the next generation, but they will be lifted by expressions of gratitude and make the whole school a happier more productive place.
TAP is that appreciative space where everyone can thank those who have inspired them and it doesn't matter when that person showed kindness, they will still be empowered by any expression of gratitude, even if it's years later! I'm sure we'd all be made up if someone thanked us for something kind we had done years before.
You can hear more from Andrew Thomas in TAP's latest Education Radio Show.