The first week of May in our country we celebrate Teachers Appreciation Week and from the School of Education, we want to honor our teachers and teachers across the world for their success in making our lives and world so much better!

I must say, there is something “supernatural” about professors and teachers. Here we’ve all been through one of the most challenging years in recent history; COVID-19 has rendered in-person gatherings almost obsolete, and many have had to adapt to virtual teaching.  The learning curve for Zoom has not been an easy feat.  However, professors and teachers have somehow managed. Somehow, they’ve been able to: schedule, facilitate, and record their Zoom meetings; make PowerPoint and Prezi presentations; be faculty advisors for clubs and organizations; conduct office hours; grade papers; respond to emails; understand the emotional challenges the pandemic brought to their students, while balancing their own personal lives.  Certainly, this pandemic has revealed that sometimes heroes come without capes: doctors, nurses, first responders and teachers.  I believe that professors and teachers have superpowers—we just don’t see their capes.

Trying to find a way to honor our teachers, we reached out to a School of Education alumna, Monica Nichols. She is the founder and president of Pink Space Theory, a mobile STEAM-based makerspace located in the metropolitan D.C. area who was recently featured on the LOCAL NEWS. When asked to provide a statement of appreciation to her instructors at Marymount, Nichols said, “Teachers at Marymount University put students in the driver’s seat by helping them to steer their way to their destiny! They exemplify the quote, ‘The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery,’ by Mark Van Doren. I have always attended large universities, so when I started attending MU in 2014, I was pleasantly surprised to find caring and passionate teachers who actively participated in my learning experience.   I don’t think they realize it, but they were all such a huge influence in helping me birth one of my dream goals – to become an entrepreneur.   Each of them made me so excited and passionate about teaching students to become life-long learners and STEAM-enthusiasts. Thanks so much for being AWESOME Teachers!” It must be reiterated that it was teachers who provided that guidance to Nichols—how awesome are they!

While writing this piece, as a junior who’s recently switched majors, I have found the professors in both departments to be supportive, insightful, and at some points, even inspirational. Without their tutelage, I may have never learned the skills I’ve learned.

I believe that we become better as a society when we recognize the true value of teachers and express that gratitude. If you are a student and want to know how to show your appreciation to your teachers, send them an email telling them why you’re appreciative of them. Be specific. Don’t take this time to hold back. If you are a staff member who works closely with Marymount professors, send encouraging words, e-cards, corny jokes, or whatever you can—I understand that COVID-19 limits what we truly want to do. Professors and teachers don’t do it for the glory but even Superman and Wonder Woman get praise from the townspeople. Let’s all relearn what is truly important, what makes us thrive!

Thank you to all Marymount University professors and all teachers, everywhere. You’re simply the best!

Written by Pierre Thomas