Teachers and Staff of Radnor, Thank you


Finn Ryan

It was one of those Friday afternoons when the school bell seemed to taunt you and the anticipation swallowed you whole.  I was sitting in my First-Grade class and my teacher, Mrs. Natow was reviewing our schedule for the following week.  Without notice, she paused, checked the clock and explained that “this can wait until Monday.”  We all knew what was coming next: the Friday Song.  Each student stood up, pushed in their chair and stepped up, on top of their desk to sing:

“Monday’s such a bummer, Tuesday’s so-so fair, Wednesday’s getting better, Thursday, and we’re almost there!  It’s Friday, it’s Friday: Friday’s my favorite day!  It’s Friday, it’s Friday: Friday’s my favorite day!” 

Only years later did I recognize the underlying significance of the song.  I, along with my peers, left each Friday with a smile – one that carried itself throughout the weekend and into the week ahead.  For this, I thank Mrs. Natow. 

A teacher’s lasting impact is immeasurable.  They shape a student’s educational career while instilling valuable lessons.  For many, an educator is among the few trusted adults and, in turn, plays a role far beyond the classroom.  This rings particularly true, in the wake of COVID-19.  A formidable prospect, virtual instruction forced teachers to spend much of the summer adjusting and preparing.  Translating a material curriculum, composed of paper tests, group work and in-person assignments, onto an exclusively remote medium is no easy feat.  The pandemic, further, stripped classes of true human connection, a critical component in a successful school year. 

Of course, the transition into cohorts, and then full-capacity, did little to remedy the aforementioned challenges.  Teachers still tirelessly toil to meet the standards of their respective courses and, all the while, balance their health against the risks of in-person instruction. 

There is no metric of appreciation that will match the effort of our teachers.  Still, displays of gratitude speak volumes.  During Teacher Appreciation Week, the Radnor Township School District organized several events at which students could thank their teachers.  Carlines sported ‘thank you’ signs, students wrote letters of gratitude and a Staff Breakfast was arranged.  Several also celebrated the week by nominating noteworthy educators for the REF Educator Impact Award. 

To completely grasp the significance of Teacher Appreciation Week, I turned to the teachers themselves.  Speaking with Mr. Funk, a science teacher new to the Radnor District, I learned that the loss of “hands-on activities” greatly altered the course of his curriculums.  “Especially as a science teacher,” he noted, “not being able to conduct physical labs was quite difficult.”  For Mr. Funk, the week is a “wonderful way to recognize all the work that teachers put in.”

Señora Pérez, a world language teacher, reacted similarly to the onset of COVID-19 restrictions.  “I tried to be as flexible as possible, but it was not always easy.”  The shift, though demanding, gave rise to several opportunities.  Lessons became “technology-oriented,” relying on virtual resources and sites.  Señora Pérez explained that she will likely “implement the[ese] new tools in the regular school year.”

Others, such as Mr. Busza, have taken it upon themselves to support their fellow teachers.  “I had a really nice experience all throughout school.  I was fortunate to have great teachers and coaches.”  Inspired by one of RHS’s math teachers, Mr. Busza hoped to “pay it forward” by having his students write letters of appreciation to past or present educators.  “Here at Radnor, we have some wonderful teachers.  If we take the time to stop our busy schedules and thank them, it can make their day.”

Appreciation takes many forms; it is not strictly synonymous with expensive or opulent gifts, nor does it require extensive effort.  Offering to help out, writing a letter or simply thanking your teachers will mean more than you know.  Often, it is the seemingly trivial acts of kindness that are most monumental.  This year has been nothing short of a challenge and our teachers stepped up to meet it.  Though every experience differs, we can all agree that teachers were pivotal — a beacon of hope during a dark period of time.

And remember, appreciation of our school leaders is not limited to just Teacher Appreciation Week. Rather, continue to show your gratitude to those who have transformed an otherwise bleak year into a compelling, creatively challenging and provocative nine months. 

Teachers, Administration and Staff, 

On behalf of the entire school, we thank you!