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The school days dwindle as May marches on, but the amounts of activities and academics seem to increase — fun days, fundraisers, exams, proms, dances, etc.

Through it all, the eyes remain on the prize: The last day of pencils, books and — sorry, teacher friends — teachers’ dirty looks! C’mon. Who doesn’t sing that jingle at the end of every academic year?

I’m sure that parents and their kiddos aren’t the only ones looking forward to summertime. How about the teachers who have endured days of teaching, correcting, testing, planning, consulting and more? They need a break, too. Just because the school bell rings at the end of the day doesn’t mean that are finished. Maybe they stay at school to monitor extracurricular activities, grade and prepare assignments or consult with parents, faculty or other school officials. When the last bus pulls away and the teachers head home, don’t think that they don’t take work home with them. I know. I’ve seen it firsthand through friends and relatives — not to mention helping a family member make characters on poster boards for preschool graduation props years ago! (I wonder if that llama eating pajamas and the whale with the polka-dotted tail still exists. Hmm …)

I’m leading up to a belated Happy Teacher Appreciation Day, which occurred Tuesday (May 9, 2018). I missed saying it to those teachers who have had an influence not only on my life, but my children’s lives. I remember a teacher who taught me twice in elementary school — second and fourth grades. Her quote of “Use your head for something besides a hat rack!” resonates often — so much so that I use it with my own children! Ha ha. I think of a nun who taught me algebra as a freshman and a junior. Up in years, yet sharp as a tack, she settled for nothing less than your best, urging us students to “Be quick! Be neat! Be accurate!” and to “Do it right the first time,” because there is no room for mistakes in mathematics. I could go on, but this blog entry would hit above 1,000 words.

As for my children, a fifth-grade teacher made an impact on my daughter’s love of reading. As Amber and her classmates fun day activities that year, I took the time to thank the teacher for her encouragement. She politely smiled, thanked me and told me that my daughter is “a wonderful little reader.” As my daughter entered second grade, her teacher sent a “getting to know you” form home for parents to fill out, so that she might know what to look for as she began the school year.

My son, while just finishing second grade, has had good teachers thus far. He loved his preschool teacher, from whom he learned so much and was well prepared for kindergarten. In kindergarten, he was delighted that he had the same teacher as his sister did.

To the teachers who have helped shape my life, I say thank you. To those who work with my children, I say thank you for all you do, from answering my email inquiries to taking on that extracurricular activity — even if it means time away from your own families as you work to perfect that play, that cheer routine, that team. Best wishes for the remaining school year!