I am Thankful for…

Is it just me, or is this one of the craziest parts of the school year? I just got back from a field trip with over 100 students, have to get progress reports put together, organize the 2nd grade Thanksgiving celebration, stay up to date with parent communication, and still teach the 27 students in my class how to read. Oh, and then I have to prepare for Thanksgiving with my family, too, but that is not a school obligation.

Whenever I feel overwhelmed with my job, I try to stop and think about all of the positive things going on as a way to remind myself why I chose this career path. When I feel like I am drowning in preparing report cards, for example, I think to myself “Wow, look at how much this student grew this quarter!” It helps me get through the seemingly endless tasks with a better attitude.

It just so happens that this overwhelming time is right around Thanksgiving. So, here is the teacher version of things I am thankful for.

I am thankful for my students. The students who I had a natural rapport with, that I have loved to watch grow up over the past few years; the students who have taught me to be a better teacher, and have given me more skills to use in my toolbox; the student who challenges me to grow as a teacher by either needing to be challenged and engaged, or who struggles to keep up with the class who needs support and love; the students who see a classmate who needs a friend, and go out of their way to include them at recess without being asked.

I am thankful for my students’ families. The families who volunteer their time to join our field trips as chaperones; the families who volunteer to help out at class parties; the families who meet with me before or after school to learn ways to better help their child learn at home; the families who support education and wear #RedForEd; the families who donate supplies to my classroom so I do not have to purchase them with my own money; the families who have gotten to know me on a personal level and see me as more than just their child’s teacher.

I am thankful for my colleagues. The colleagues whose friendly faces I see every day as we cheer each other on through good days and bad days; the colleagues who support my wild and crazy ideas, and even suggest ways to streamline them; the colleagues who show up early and stay late to do what is right for students; the colleagues who I can laugh or cry with; the colleagues who inspire me to further my career and improve my teaching practice.

And last, but not least, I’m thankful for all the flair pens I have in my desk that have not dried out from overuse yet.

Happy Thanksgiving!

photo credit: symphony of love George Vanderman There is nothing that can have a more powerful effect on your mental health than the spirit of thankfulness via photopin (license)


Caitlin Gawlowski

I was born to be a teacher, although I did not realize that teaching was my calling until I began college. I have always loved to write and began college with the mindset of becoming a journalist. Before I began my freshman year of college, I changed my major to Elementary Education on a whim and have never looked back. I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University and won the Outstanding Student Teacher Award during my student teaching experience in the Cave Creek Unified School District.
I spent 7 years in the Washington Elementary School District teaching 2nd and 3rd grade. I became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2018, and I hold a certificate in Early and Middle Childhood Literacy: Reading/Language Arts. The 2019-2020 school year marks the beginning of my 8th year teaching, where I will be teaching 3rd grade English Language Learners, and supporting other National Board candidates on their journey toward National Board certification.
If I am lucky enough to have free time, you can find me planning my wedding, spending time with my infant son and fiancé, taking group fitness classes, or enjoying a good book.

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