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What do you get the teacher who does everything?

• Joanna Hassell


In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week we asked a few staff members to contribute to our #OnTheFly blog series about a specific teacher who inspired them and made a difference in their lives. Continuing our series is Joanna Hassell, Deputy Director of Policy and Implementation at the Foundation. She’s not writing to her own teachers but the ones she entrusts her children to each day. 


It’s that time again.

Time to somehow, some way show the teachers of my children just how much we appreciate the roles they play in our lives.

This is no easy task, my friends. I mean, have you met my children? Hannah is five going on 15 and knows too much for her own good. Notwithstanding their gorgeous blonde locks, chubby little cheeks, and inquisitive minds…Nicholas and Jacob are two year old twin boys. Enough said.

There are days when I can barely get them fed and dressed in the morning. Yet their teachers, God bless them, have perfected the art of organized chaos, for no less than eight hours a day. Thanks to their teachers, my precious boys know the days of the week, how to count to 10, and every color in the rainbow. Hannah amazes us in the evening, reading us books, and recounting the science projects she’s worked on at school.

The saying goes, “what do you buy the person who has everything?” But in this case, it’s what do you buy the people who do everything?  The teacher who cradles Jacob in her arms when he falls and scrapes his knees on the playground? The teachers who, at the ever tough early morning drop-off, distract Nicholas by counting the school buses so that I can get to work “on time”?  The teacher who shows my daughter that physical beauty is not about being thin, but about being strong and healthy?  The teachers who believe and teach that it is not about how smart you are but rather how hard you try?

To my children’s teachers: no amount of rice krispy treats, candy-filled coffee mugs, or book store gift cards will ever be enough to thank you for what you do every day. But I hope that you know just how appreciated you are.

About the author

Joanna Hassell

Joanna Hassell is the Deputy Director of Policy and Implementation at the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Before joining the Foundation, she served for over six years in the Florida House of Representatives as a legislative attorney in Education and, most recently, in the Rules and Calendar Committee.