Everybody knows that teachers get short-changed (both figuratively and literally) for the incredibly hard work and tireless dedication they put into being role models, conduits for wisdom and curiosity, and the heralds of an institution integral to the well-being and self-awareness of a society: education. Well, it just so happens that this week is Teacher Appreciation Week -- so take some time to reach out to an old or current teacher, let them know you value and are inspired by their commitment, and for the love of God, don’t give them an apple. They don’t need any more apples.
Drama departments are also short-changed -- at least in my personal experience. Drama is not always seen as the most important of extracurriculars, which is a shame, since it shaped so much of who I am today. Drama teachers, therefore, often end up pulling the short straw in terms of the recognition they get for their work. If you’re a part of the theatre community, or a fan of theatre -- would you be where you are today if it weren’t for a drama teacher that encouraged and nurtured you? I know I wouldn’t be. I will always be grateful to my high school director, or even the English teacher who introduced me to classic plays. So grateful, in fact, that I wouldn’t even dream of gifting any of these pivotal figures from my formative years a goddamn apple.
Many of you probably don’t know that my parents are both teachers. It’s where I got a lot of my appreciation for the value of education growing up. Every day, my parents would come home from work, and they’d have received 10 to 15 apples from their students. My parents don’t believe in wasting anything, so of course apples became the staple of my and my brother’s diet. At first, it was a welcome and healthy addition -- we were growing boys, after all. Near the end of one school year, when students were particularly eager to thank my mom and dad -- who are of course both wonderful teachers -- they ended up hauling home multiple barrels of apples every day, wheeled in on carts, beads of sweat from the mid-June sun dripping down my lifegivers’ faces, which were as red as the fruity burden they carried on their proverbial Atlantean shoulders. When they stopped in the kitchen, wiping their brows, my brother and I looked at our parents, then at the barrels. No one spoke, but we knew what had to be done.
By the end of the meal, my brother and I were gasping for some other food group -- anything. Our nutritional intakes were completely skewed because of the dangerously prolific consumption of nothing but Red Delicious and Macintosh apples. To our dismay, we discovered that there were still dozens of apples left. Our parents wept. They considered leaving the profession, cursed by the ordeal they had put their own children through, and not being able to bear the thought of one more single apple being plopped down on their desk by some dead-eyed fifth grader who got “furniture” wrong on last week’s spelling quiz. But they didn’t quit. Why? Because they’re teachers. And teachers don’t give up.
Do my brother and I still have to eat four loaves of bread and two cartons of eggs every day to make up for our childhood palette? Yes. But are we grateful for the teachers that made us who we are today? Of course. We cherish the excited scramble for knowledge that they started us on. We strive to embody every lesson they taught us. And most important of all -- we know to get them a Barnes & Noble gift card, instead of damning their offspring to a dietary dystopia. What's worse than finding a worm in your apple? Having an apple in the first place.
Love and thanks,