Teacher Appreciation Week

Amanda Bryans

By Amanda Bryans

At the end of a speech several years ago, a woman raised her hand. When I acknowledged her, she stood and asked, "Do you know what Head Start did for my child?" "I don't know," I said. "Tell me." "They loved her!" she answered enthusiastically. "She knew she was special; and every day when she went to that school, she knew she was loved.” The mother went on to tell how she watched her daughter’s confidence blossom; and today, that little Head Start preschooler is a teacher. The proud mother told how Head Start had influenced her life, as she herself had become a Head Start teacher, went on to obtain a master's degree, and is now the principal of an elementary school.

I think about that one mother’s life experiences a lot, especially now during Teacher Appreciation Week. So many Head Start and Early Head Start children have succeeded in life due in part to the hard work of dedicated and loving teachers and assistants. Teachers take every opportunity to help children learn shapes and colors, to count, and to recognize letters. And of course, for children in Head Start and Early Head Start, those skills are vital.

The true gift you give the children in your care is a sense of being valued, safe, and loved. When young children experience accepting and supportive learning environments every day, they are able to experience all the curiosity, wonder, creativity, and joy that life and learning have to offer. In an incredible act of generosity, you are willing to love each child, even though they will be with you only a short while.

Deep down, I think that teachers become a permanent part of every one of the children they teach. Because of you, the lives of countless children are richer and our world is a better place. Thank you for your dedication and service to our children.

Amanda Bryans is the Education and Comprehensive Services Division Director, Office of Head Start.

To Teachers, with Gratitude: Teacher Appreciation Week 2014. HHS/ACF/OHS. 2014. English.

Last Updated: June 3, 2014