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Thank You Is Not Enough

Teacher Thank You

In the heart of the Midwest lies a state known for its vast cornfields, friendly communities, a top-notch State Fair and a deep appreciation for education: Iowa. Yet, behind the picturesque landscapes and charming towns, there’s a group of unsung heroes whose influence stretches far beyond the classroom walls — our beloved teachers.

In every corner of Iowa, from bustling cities to rural towns, teachers serve as beacons of knowledge, compassion and inspiration every day. They are the guiding lights who shape the minds of future generations, instilling not just academic excellence, but also essential values and life skills that go far beyond textbooks. Everyone has that one special teacher who impacted them the most. Have you taken time to thank them and share with them the impact they had on you?

What makes teachers so special in Iowa? Everything! It’s more than just their ability to teach math equations or historical events. It’s their unwavering dedication to nurturing the potential within each student, regardless of background or circumstance. In a state where community bonds run deep, teachers frequently became mentors and role models, providing support and encouragement both inside and outside the classroom.


From the first day of kindergarten to the final moments of high school graduation, teachers are there every step of the way, cheering on their students’ successes and offering a guiding hand through challenges. They celebrate victories, big and small and provide a safe haven for students to explore, question and grow. Everyone can name their kindergarten teacher, mine was Mrs. Stouffer and I went to AM kindergarten, because all sections were half day. In her fun-filled room I was most excited that she had a hamster, being from a pet-free home.

Celebrating Iowa Teachers

In Iowa, where values of hard work, integrity and community are cherished, teachers embody these principles in their everyday actions. They go above and beyond to ensure that every child has the opportunity to thrive, regardless of obstacles they may face. Whether it’s staying late or coming early to help a struggling student, organizing extracurricular activities, sharing a snack or finding innovative ways to engage learners, teachers consistently demonstrate their commitment to keeping the students at the center of everything they do.

In times of crisis, teachers in Iowa have proven themselves to be true heroes. Whether facing natural disasters, economic downturns, safety concerns or global pandemics, they adapt and innovate to ensure that learning never stops. Their resilience and determination serve as a source of inspiration for us all, reminding us of the power of education to overcome adversity and build a brighter tomorrow.

Iowa is home to an ever-changing diverse population and teachers reflect this diversity in their classrooms. They celebrate cultures, languages and backgrounds, creating inclusive learning environments where every student feels valued and respected. Our teachers are resourceful, finding innovative ways to make the most of available resources. They collaborate with colleagues, leverage technology or tap into community partnerships to enrich their teaching and provide unique learning experiences for students. Our teachers are adaptable, they understand that every student learns differently and are skilled at tailoring their teaching approaches to meet the needs of diverse learners. Whether it's through project-based learning, differentiated instruction or hands-on activities, they find creative ways to engage students, build relationships and foster a love for learning. Our teachers embrace the concept of being lifelong learners and for that we are thankful.


I just returned from a trip with childhood friends and naturally the conversation went to treasured memories from the past. These always include special teachers and of course we each have our favorites. So thank you Mrs. Claussen, my elementary school PE teacher who taught us the value of setting goals, being persistently determined and having tenacity. She said, “I am here to support you, if you want to work hard enough for it.” I earned the Presidential Fitness Award every year because she would meet us at 7 a.m. or stay after school if you were willing to put in the work to better your score. Thank you, Mr. Handlin, the high school AP English teacher who made me believe in my writing and carefully tricked me into many edits to polish my essays. He was a blessing with his peer editing conferences, one-on-one conferences with him and the way his classroom felt collaborative and caring. College writing classes were a breeze thanks to him.

As we reflect on the invaluable contributions of teachers, let us remember to honor and celebrate them not just this week, but every week. Expressing gratitude to teachers is a wonderful gesture — a win-win!  Whether it is a simple thank you note, a kind word or a small token of appreciation, letting teachers know that their efforts are valued can go a long way in brightening their day. As a third-generation Iowa educator, I am honored to wish every teacher a sincere Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

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Dr. Jyll Johnson Miner

Dr. Jyll Johnson Miner is the CTE/Related Arts Postsecondary Director for the Johnston Community Schools. She was raised by two life-long educators and is now completing her 34th year in the education world having been a Third Grade Teacher and Math / Science Coordinator prior to her current role.