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With Thanksgiving around the corner, I created a thank you video for teachers. Feel free to share it with friends, colleagues, or your own children’s teachers. You can find it here on YouTube or on here on Facebook.

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An Open Letter to Teachers

Dear teachers,

A few years ago, my daughter entered kindergarten. She came in knowing letters but that was about it. By the end of the year, she could put together entire words. She viewed language as a playground and reading as a chance to explore a whole world. I don’t completely understand the science of blending and phonics and sight words. But you do.

Miraculously, millions of students learn to read every day.

Because of a teacher.

And right now there’s a teacher thinking about his students. He’s dreaming of ways to make them feel more safe and welcome. For a few kids, this is the only place where they truly feel safe.

Because of a teacher.

There’s a language arts teacher who has taken a full week of her lunch period – those blessed 26 minutes to scarf down a meal – in order to help a student learn how to read. And although the progress is slow, he will become a reader.

Because of a teacher.

There’s a math teacher who has a room full of kids started the year saying that they’re “just not good at math.” But now they are geeking out over ways to solve complex problems. They are learning that that math can be creative and even fun. And they will become problem-solvers.

Because of a teacher.

There’s a science teacher who inspires her students to chase after their questions and on one afternoon they were so excited about their experiments that they didn’t even notice the bell ring. They will become scientists . . .

Because of a teacher.

There are history teachers who inspire students to capture history and a group of PE teachers who will encourage kids to get more active and think about their health. There are technology teachers who will help kids send their work to the world and fine arts teachers who help kids find their creative voice.  There are foreign language teachers who are helping kids communicate globally and CTE teachers who will help prepare kids for all kinds of jobs

There’s a special education teacher inspiring her kids to do things that once seemed impossible. She’s building partnerships with the families out of a belief that all children can learn.

And there’s this teacher librarian who will see the students as children and not data. He’s creating a makerspace while also inspiring kids to fall in love with reading. And they will become life-long learners . . .

Because of a teacher.

And right now, there’s a 4th-grade teacher with a scribbled up yellow legal pad. She’s dreaming up wild new projects. This is her 27th year and she’s still taking creative risks. To her, it’s no big deal. It’s what she does. But it’s a big deal to her students. To them, she is a hero. This year, she is making her students’ world epic, like she always does.

They will remember her forever and she will change the world in ways that she cannot even fathom.

And all of this will happen . . .

Because of a teacher.

So, if you’re a teacher, I just want to say thank you for all you do even when the job is challenging and exhausting. You’re making a huge difference. Every single day.


John Spencer

Professor and Maker

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John Spencer

My goal is simple. I want to make something each day. Sometimes I make things. Sometimes I make a difference. On a good day, I get to do both.More about me


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