Teacher Appreciation Week – A Teacher’s Perspective

By  Mike Arsenault: May 6, All Staff Meeting Address

Since it’s Teacher Appreciation Week, I think it’s important for us to establish the size of the tent under which we do or do not stand in order to give and receive the appreciation being offered. I don’t think it is too bold to say that “Every time we touch the lives of our students—we teach them.” After all, “teaching” is simply another word for the ancient and elemental bond that exists between the elders of the tribe and the younger members. If you are in this all-staff meeting you’re an elder. Sorry, twenty-somethings. If you come into contact with any of our students you are teaching them, even through the briefest of encounters. What each of us does—matters — because we are all connected. So, in my view the tent is big and we stand under it together.

Mrs.Kee makes this claim, “LCS has the best staff and faculty in the country,”

That’s a pretty big claim and it would be so easy for each of us to dismiss it by saying something like, “Well of course she has to say that, she’s the Head of School.” Kinda like your uncle saying  “You’re the greatest!” when inside, you question the scope of evidence and the reasoning he’s using to support that claim.

I’d like to examine Mrs.Kee’s claim—of “best in the country.” How does she know this? When I asked her, she simply said “Mike, I’ve been to every school. There’s something special here.” In her former role [as Executive Director for Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS) for eleven years], Mrs.Kee has been to all of them – many times. So, she is uniquely qualified to make that statement. Unfortunately, I don’t think my uncle was.

She said, “There is something special here.” How long have we had that magical essence? I believe it’s been present for a long time. It was certainly here in my first year (1982) when I was mentored by faculty titans such as Dr. Rosalind Barker, Brian Jones, Richard Hayman, Andy Harris, and Bob Armstrong. They spoke openly and passionately about students and knew deeply that their task was not merely to prepare our students for making a living, but rather to help them learn how to make a life. They knew that teaching is first and foremost a vocation that demands our full human presence — our emotional, physical, intellectual, and visionary best selves. They metaphorically handed me a torch.

Yesterday, in Edsby’s “Staff Room Group” I posted a request to you to answer the question you see on your screen. Thank you to all that took the time to answer that question. What jumped off the page in reading your responses was the LOVE being expressed. What you see here is a visual representation of all your sentiments.


We’re being asked to dig deep and we do so because we’re team players. We don’t want to let the team down. We also dig deep because we love what we do and who we do it for. Our students. Each other. Ourselves. Here is what I know. We get super motivated when we love what we do. There is something special at LCS, we’re all under the same tent, and we all get to carry that torch.