Community Testimonials from Teacher Appreciation Week!

Breakwater School Teachers 2016/2017: Alex Johnston, Allie Cahoon, Andrew Hodgkins, Ben Boegehold, Cheryl Hart, “Fitz” Fitzgibbons, Lindsay Holt, Danielle Gorman, Denny Church, Erica Paul, Hans Spencer, Jeanne King, Marjorie Haley, Katie O'Toole, Claire Martin, Liz Furmanski, Julia Beckett, Krys Carriere, Molly Trayner, Shaun Aylward, Yazi Azel, Tom Fisher, Sari Lindauer, Jed Bloom, and Josephine Roberts. We ♥︎ our amazing Enrichment crew, too, and recognize their significant contributions to our community. Thank you all.

In advance of Teacher Appreciation Week (May 8 - May 12, 2017) we solicited testimonials from our community of parents and students recognizing the Breakwater faculty. Here are a few*:

* Individual names have been redacted in this online version, but fear not contributors- your sentiments in their full, unedited form were shared with teachers. Thank you.

Message: I am always aware of how much time, thought, effort and heart goes into guiding our beloved children on any given day. At Breakwater, this is particularly true. Words are said with kindness, gentleness, and understanding. Curiosity is channeled into avenues of exploration. Improvisation and perseverance are encouraged. Each morning after I drop off my son, I have a moment of feeling grateful that my son is receiving the benefits of these efforts. Thank you, teachers, from the bottom of my heart. You are not only making the lives of these children better, but bit by bit, encouraging a better world.

Message: I appreciate [my teacher] because she makes us do things that we haven't done it before!

#1. [My child’s teacher], you have won our daughter's heart and trust! This has been her best year of school so far as she feels she can truly be herself and feels valued for who she is! Thank you for your countless hours and boundless love! 
#2. We send our kids to Breakwater because of the staff. Period! Nowhere else have we found educators so open-hearted, open-minded, selfless, and nurturing. Thank you for the daily peace of mind. We trust you fully and are so grateful that our children have you all in their lives! 

Message: Dear [teacher], Thank you so much for all your care and attention to our children (I'm speaking for others here too, of course)! We appreciate the wealth of knowledge you bring regarding child development and the strategies you have developed regarding moving our son along in a positive direction. We owe much of this year's success to you and we thank you from the bottoms of our hearts. <3 xo

Message: Dear [teacher], Thank you so much for helping us learn and have fun! I love having you as a teacher, you are awesome! From, [current student]

Message: To the entire Breakwater staff, Thank you for caring for our children with patience, nurturing, with high expectations, and a degree of fun not often found in many schools. Your thoughtful decisions about how to meet the needs of our kids, the time and care you put into the work you do, and the fact that you all know our kids really well are all appreciated deeply and will be remembered for a lifetime. Thank you for doing the work you do every day. Fondly, [parent]

Message: Thank you for your insightful and genuine style of teaching... you are a strong guide and a door opener to our children's minds!

Message: [My child] has come into her own with your help for the last two years. With you and the rest of the 5/6 team, she is becoming the person she is meant to be. Thank You.

Message: I appreciate [my teacher] because he is a really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really good teacher!

Message: [Teacher] is a great influence on the kids at Breakwater. I've been amazed by how my child is learning to work with her hands! Thanks for all he does for BWS but also the very important and all-to-often missing component of education in our society: working with our hands and combining that with using our minds to solve problems. Thanks!

Message: [My teacher] is just such an amazing person, and an incredibly dedicated teacher. She ALWAYS takes the time to make sure I feel seen and heard when I have a question or concern. She treats every kid (and every kid's family) as an individual, with individual needs- and that's not easy when you have a whole group of people to consider. Her love and respect for the kids in her care is so obvious. I'm so sad that my child won't be with her next year!

Message: We love the 7/8 teachers because they bring learning into the world and the world into the classroom. Nature, civics, science and adventure take the 7/8 class into the world to see the positive change they can create and the 7/8 teaches are always finding new ways to engage and inspire our enthusiastic middle schoolers. Thank you!

Message: dear [teacher] I know you’re not my first teacher but it feel like you are so thank you for being such a great teacher.

Message: Why I love Breakwater teachers: Because they light up the word "school" to its greatest wattage. They make learning happen in technicolor. They model being a grown up in the world and investing your life in something you love. They SEE and KNOW my children and embrace them for their whole selves. You inspire me everyday.

Message: I love my teacher because she is so kind and thoughtful.

Message: [My child’s teacher] (and the entire Breakwater community) is a real treasure. She truly knows each child, respects them, gives them freedom to learn, and encouragement to flourish. [My child] is learning in leaps and bounds and loves coming to school and I know that he will be cared for, respected, and in good hands when I drop him off each day.

Message: [My child’s teacher], nobody in our family has ever loved learning the way [my child] loves learning from you. Your combination of creativity, energy, and humor simply delight all of the children you teach, and their parents too. During this moment of teacher appreciation, please know that we could not appreciate you more. THANK YOU!

Message: Thank you for knowing and responding to [my child’s] interests, needs and potential. You have given him an extraordinary kindergarten experience. You are amazing!

Message: Breakwater Crew, Thank you-- all of you-- for authentically and deeply caring about our kids. You work really, really hard, but never seem to run out of energy when it comes to giving them what they need to realize their full potential and live well on the planet. With great respect, [parents]

Message: I love my teacher I love my teacher because she's so fun!

Message: Thank you for your keen observations, patience and endurance!

Message: Our son has thrived in your classroom this year. THANK YOU for providing him with such a nurturing, accepting, and inspiring learning environment.

Message: To all the Breakwater staff, friends and family! A BIG THANK YOU to everyone for making [my child’s] transition to Breakwater so welcoming and easy! Thanks to [my child’s] teacher, for all of the hard work and dedication you bring to the classroom! We are very excited to be new members of the Breakwater Family and look forward to all of the wonderful opportunities in the years to come.

Message: Thank you for the patient way you share your knowledge with the Tinkering students. I love to see the wonderful myriad of creations that happen in your studio. You have created a space where the intersection of Art and Science can be explored!

Message: [My child’s teacher] challenged my daughter like no one else. He wasn't okay with her just being "fine" but found a way to push her to her full potential. For that she and I will always appreciate [teacher].

Message: Thank you for bringing the real world into the classroom and teaching our kids to embrace the real world outside of school.

Message: Thank you [teacher] for bringing your intrepid mountaineering approach into the four walls of your classroom. The adventure shines through my girl thanks to the consistent challenges. No rest for the excitement of the future and the depth of the present. For this I'm ever grateful.

Message: Thank you for all that you do. I am consistently amazed not only by your hard work and clear dedication to your students but also by your ability to encourage a learning environment that is safe, yet challenges students both socially and academically in very positive and appropriate ways. The entire Breakwater community is lucky to have you!

Message: I appreciate [my teacher] because she helps me figure out things that are difficult.

Message: Song fills our home, thank you for teaching our children to celebrate with music!!

Message: Dear [teacher], there are not enough words to describe how much we love and respect you! Your care and support always amazed all of us and your incredible service to our children will be remembered forever! We know that you were always being ready for all of us, in early morning and late night, or during your break time to give your guidance, confidence and encouragement😍 Our big hug from all of us, yours truly [family name]

Message: Thank you to the Early Childhood staff for your kindness, your patience, your creativity, and your love!

Message: Thank you for knowing my child so well that you create experiences based on her curiosity to support her learning and growth. I am grateful that you let me know things to celebrate, as well as things that are challenging to her, so we can work together as she does the work she needs. We appreciate all you do every day!

Message: Hey Teachers! Our kids come to you in the middle of a huge transition and you made them feel welcome, safe, comfortable, and so happy. They flourishing with you all, and we love their excitement when they talk about what you've taught them every day. Thanks for making our little firecrackers light up!

Message: Dear [7/8 teachers] --- Thank you for being the great teachers that all three of you are, in every way. Best, [parent]

Message: Breakwater is a special place. I recognized this a long time ago while doing my Art Ed training at MeCA. I had the chance to work with the early childhood, take the 4th graders to the PMA and work directly with the 8th graders on a really involved art project. I thought back then, what makes these kids so unique? So articulate and well-mannered? So mature and engaged? It wasn't until my son joined the Breakwater community that I learned it was you - all of you. I cannot express in words how grateful I am for all you do for my [son]. You have all had a hand in shaping him into the wonderful, inquisitive and bright little boy he is. And it hasn't been easy, I know. You've all shown your support and patience in so many ways. My son loves you all, and the stories he tells me are filled with examples of how you all go above and beyond for him. As a teacher, I understand how much work and time you put in, but as a dad I can only thank you from the bottom of my heart. Enjoy the rest of the year and your well-deserved time off with your friends and family.

Message: We joke that our children spend more with their teachers then they do with us. Actually this might be true. If it is then hallelujah its you all. The thing that makes Breakwater School stand out from other schools is the quality of our children’s daily interaction with teachers. Bravo!

Message: Dear teachers - My child is thriving, largely due to YOU. Bottom line, the love in the classrooms is the reason we are at Breakwater.

Message: I used to think teachers were like parents without emotions. "How easy it would be" I frequently dreamt as I was arguing with my child "if only I could remove that element from our interactions”... I was wrong; GOOD teachers have a great deal of emotional investment with their students *and* a complete set of professional and ethical boundaries that are publicly policed. My incorrect assumption was based on the teachers I had met who had the title but weren't really teachers - either due to their own limitations or to those placed on them by their workplace. I am consistently humbled by the capacity of the teachers (and administrators who are very much a part of every teacher's support system) at Breakwater. You all deserve my respect and have it and I appreciate all you do, every day, for your students (and one in particular!) Mad props.

Message: I have many appreciations to thank you for giving me a good education with many fun details. I really like it when you help us by having play time in an educating way. [student]

and one for the front office!

Message: I appreciate [our very cool front office person] because she always makes me happy when I am sick.

Academic Director Maggie Lyon's letter soliciting submissions:

To our Breakwater community,
May 8 - May 12 is National Teacher Appreciation Week. A lot of research has been done in the past decade to understand what makes the most difference in successfully educating the whole child. Much of that research is embedded in the core of the Breakwater Way including the most important identifier for student success- effective teachers.  

At the beginning of this school year I made the transition from being a Breakwater classroom teacher to my new administrative role of Academic Director. As a teacher, I knew and understood that my colleagues and I worked hard, loved our students, and were genuinely invested in what we did here everyday. But really, I only had part of the story. In my new role, I am fortunate to observe all of our teachers plan their magic in their own classrooms, hear students across grade levels describe daily the meaningful relationships they have built with faculty, and, from the big picture perspective my job affords me, witness the special atmosphere that all of these amazing, dedicated people create together in our school. I am continually blown away by the dedication, skill and strength of our faculty. Because they recognize, as I do, what an special and unique learning environment Breakwater is, we have been fortunate to recruit a faculty of some of the most creative, principled and hard working people one can ever hope to have guide our children.

At Breakwater, our teachers are a prized asset – they are the foundation for an exceptional school. The foundation for our school.  I am sincerely grateful for the gifts, time and energy that each of our teachers bring to our learning environment, both as a colleague and as a parent. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with and alongside each day. They are truly an inspiring and talented team of educators that guide our children through their academic and emotional growth.

All through National Teacher Appreciation Week members of the administrative team have signed up to provide various tokens of recognition for our teaching staff. We’ll be doing some seemingly small things like emptying recycling bins and keeping the coffee fresh, as well as other little “thank you’s” here and there.

Here are some ways you could join us in demonstrating your appreciation - use our AmazonSmile account to  purchase a gift; donate to the Annual Fund in continued support of our faculty (all annual fund dollars go directly to operations, including teacher salaries and benefits); engrave a commemorative brick for permanent placement on our playground; or, double your money! bid high on an item that your teacher would appreciate from our upcoming Silent Auction - all proceeds go back to the annual fund and you will have a wonderful gift to give. And, take a minute to record your words of thanks for your child's teacher(s) in the form above. We'll display them in our hallways.

Thank you, Breakwater teachers, thank you.

With gratitude,
Maggie Lyon | Academic Director