LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - All this week, at public, private and home schools, appreciation is being shown towards teachers.
The usual gestures of thanks are shown through gifts, but a bond between a student and a teacher is often the best thank you an educator could ever want.
"It's really nice to have that added note from the parent or the note from the kid," said Joyce Smith, a teacher with 29 years of experience. "It kinda makes you realize that what I've done all year long, it's been worth it."
The grab-and-go lunches, flowers, and sweet desserts are nice, but the science teacher gets teary-eyed listening to her sixth-grade student, Alex Tiu.
"Miss Smith never quits," Tiu said. "She will slowly go over it with me. She is a very patient teacher, and I appreciate that."
Patience is a virtue when teaching every science but chemistry. Alex is smart, but the help from this devoted St. Cyprian's Episcopal teacher prepared him for a victory in a statewide science competition for private schools.
"Third place in state science PSIA, all over state in Texas," Tiu said.
"You can't always make a difference in all of your students' lives, but to know you made a difference in at least, one you hang onto that," Smith said.
For fun, the scientific method was applied to explore teacher appreciation.
"Alright, how can you appreciate a teacher?" Smith asked. "What would be your hypothesis?"
Discussion back and forth led to a conclusion of a teacher's role with their student.
"How to be a better person? Thank you," Smith said. "That's what I was hoping you would say that. That was my job."
"I don't know of any other profession where you change 150 lives every year," Smith said.
It's the life lessons that truly say thank you.
"I'm going to cry again," Smith said. "Yeah, actually, the cakes, the cookies, the pat on the back from the admin, the parents notes, they're all sweet, but when a child says to you, 'You've made a difference,' just one child, then you know it was worth every bit of it."
Smith will be teaching at Nacogdoches High School in the fall.
Tiu plans to return to state academic competition with sights set on first place.