– By Tom Schaffner
Could there ever be two better-timed national “appreciation” weeks?
This year, Teacher Appreciation Week is May 4-8, 2020 and National Nurses Week takes place May 6-12, 2020. Given the front-and-center roles that these workers have played during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially important that everyone take a few moments to recognize, celebrate and thank them for the vital services they have performed during this global crisis.
Teacher Appreciation Week
Sponsored since 1984 by the National Parent Teacher Association, Teacher Appreciation Week is a special time to honor the men and women who lend their passion and skills to educating our children. This year, given the extra time and effort put in by teachers to restructure teaching plans and implement a wide variety of at-home and online educational programs, teachers deserve special recognition. Show a teacher that you and your children care, let them know how much appreciate their efforts in the coming weeks and months.
National Nurses Week
National Nurses Week, sponsored by the American Nurses Association, runs for full week every year and concludes on Florence Nightingale’s birthday, May 12. This year, health care workers in general — and nurses in particular — need to be recognized as the heroes they are, dedicated workers who put their lives on the line every day to help the sick and infirm among us get through these challenging and difficult times. There simply is no better time to celebrate these brave and courageous individuals.
At L Stop Tours, both of these professions hold special meaning. My wife, a lifetime nurse and hospital administrator, succumbed to ovarian cancer long before the pandemic but I know she would have put herself on the front lines immediately, doing whatever she could to help others through the crisis, just as she had done during other crises throughout her career. My daughter (and co-owner of L Stop Tours) spent most of her career as a middle school teacher. Like most teachers, she worked many long hours finding ways to keep her students informed, inspired and engaged.
As long as I can remember, teachers and nurses have been minimized and under-appreciated. They have important jobs and work long hours — but they continually rank near the bottom of the pay scale as compared to other professionals. This year, however, teachers and nurses have emerged as heroes, they have put students and patients first and in the process, have shown all of us what caring and compassion are all about.
It’s time for the rest of us to step up. Let teachers know you appreciate all they’ve done to educate our children; let nurses know that you appreciate their dedication, commitment and passion during the health care crisis of our time.
Do it. It’ll make their day — and it will make you feel better about yourself, as well.
Holder of two journalism degrees, including a masters from Northwestern University, Tom Schaffner is a native of the Chicago area and has spent nearly 50 years as a writer, editor, publisher and professional communications consultant. He was also the founder, editor, and publisher of the Chicago File, as well as the co-owner of L Stop Tours.