Women Validating Women: Celebrating Mother’s Day and Teacher Appreciation Week
I’ve been in a rotten mood this week because I want to know who’s idea it was to make National Teacher Appreciation Week the week before Mother’s Day? In a profession that is dominated by women and in a society that traditionally trains females to be the ones to recognize and appreciate others, it feels a little silly as I watch myself and the women around me, running around appreciating each other.
Now, don’t get me wrong, heavens knows teachers need to be appreciated. We should have a whole month, a whole year to appreciate them (and give them all a raise). But, I’m struck by the incongruity of both Mother’s Day and Teacher Appreciation Week as I see that the primary appreciative participants are women.
During a week, I’m helping my husband plan Mother’s Day dinner for our mothers at our house, help my kids make Mother’s Day cards for their grandmas, great-grandmas, and aunts w/o children, and well, deal with my own ambivalence about the holiday, I have the added layer of activities that my kids (i.e. me) are being asked to participate in for Teacher Appreciation:
- Monday: Donate money for muffins and coffee for teachers.
- Tuesday: Bring a flower from your garden or a flower shop to your teacher (don’t forget music, P.E., computer teachers and aides!).
- Wednesday: Decorate a paper flower petal for your teacher
- Thursday: Scrapbook a page for the director of the preschool
- Friday: Write a thank you note to your teacher (don’t forget music, P.E., computer teachers and aides!)
As my son hands his flower to his teacher Tuesday morning, she says, “Thank you so much! I was the flower lady in my son’s class this morning, too.” I, then, feel a little deflated and wonder if we’re so insecure in our roles that we women have to run around appreciating each other to get some sense of validation because though our society says, “We value teachers. We value mothers,” really, truly, as a society, do we?
I wonder what we can do to raise the next generation of sons and daughters to show appreciation to all their teachers and the women who raise them. Can our society ever give more than lip service to such feelings of appreciation? What would that look like?