Written by Kristin van Brunt

I was brought up to believe that we shouldn’t do things simply to be recognized or appreciated…that our actions should be independent of any acknowledgement we may or may not receive. Although I still believe that recognition should not be the impetus for our actions, I have found that appreciation has incredible power to affect people in a positive way.

Recently, the transformative power of appreciation hit home for me when I had a visit from the superintendent of Davis School District. He came to my school on a teacher work day specifically to visit me. A few months ago, I published an article about the importance of relationships in education. I am not sure how he came across the article, but he did. He read it and came by my school to thank me. This is an incredibly busy man. He is responsible for a district of almost 70,000 students, 2,500 educators,
and more than 80 schools. He didn’t have to visit. He didn’t have to acknowledge me or my article at all. But he did. He chose to take the time to come to my school to thank me for my perspective and what I do for kids. It was a short visit, but it meant the world to me. I felt appreciated. I felt like what I did mattered. That recognition energized me to jump into a new semester with a positive outlook.

After this brief meeting, I realized how much that act of appreciation mattered, and I determined to pass along that recognition to others. Mary Kay Ash stated: “Everyone wants to be appreciated. So if you appreciate someone, don’t keep it a secret.”  I’ve decided to take that advice to heart. Each week, I plan to let a minimum of two people know how much I appreciate them and what they do. This could be teaching colleagues, students, administrators, family, or friends. I am hopeful that this small action will
encourage others the way the superintendent’s visit encouraged me.

Kristin is an English Teacher at Viewmont High School in Bountiful, Utah. Follow her on Twitter at @vb_kristin

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