By Harlene Winnick Appelman
As the season of Thanksgiving approaches, we find ourselves taking stock: We count our blessings of health, family, good friends, our professions and the freedom to pursue our passions. And then there are our teachers. Who among us hasn’t had a great teacher, mentor, guide, parent, student or friend who taught us something profound, someone who changed a learning experience for us, who helped us gain confidence, believed in us, created a sacred and holy educational experience that we won’t soon forget?
We all have. And it is because of these great teachers that we continue to teach, and to learn and to give thanks.
This month we celebrate The Covenant Foundation’s 25-year-old tradition of honoring Jewish education and educators. To kick off a year of public engagement around great teaching, we’re proud to share with you two digital ways to give thanks to your teachers.
First, we invited animator and New York City public school teacher Hanan Harchol to create an animation about the power of great teaching. That animation calls us to action: Acknowledge your best teachers. Thank them. Take a look.
Next, we’ve launched a video-sharing app called “The Covenant Foundation Voices” which allows us to all create our own 20-second thank you videos to share. The app can be downloaded for free for your Android or iPhone. Simply search “Covenant Foundation Voices” in the App store or the Google Play store, download the free app, follow the prompts, shoot your thank you video, and hit submit so we can share your stories of thanks with your teachers, and the world.
(You can also make a video from your computer, by visiting this site: covenantfn.gvproapp.com)
Very few educators teach to be thanked. Rather, they teach because it’s in their bones, in their hearts and in their souls. But by the same token, educators rarely hear the words “thank you,” enough.
This Thanksgiving season, let’s join together and show our teachers how much they matter by thanking them. And who knows? A campaign of gratitude might be the first small step we need to take to restore civility to our community, our society, and our world.
Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever does.”
For more information on all of The Covenant Foundation’s 25th anniversary events, and to find out more about our award recipients and grantees, visit us at www.covenantfn.org
Harlene Winnick Appelman is the Executive Director of The Covenant Foundation. She has worked in Jewish education for nearly thirty-five years as a family educator, director of community education and outreach, and as Chief Jewish Education Officer of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. Known internationally as a creative force in Jewish education on both the institutional and communal levels, Appelman received the Covenant Award in 1991 and was invited to join the Board of Directors of the Foundation in 1994.