By Jennifer Waddle, Crosswalk.com
Back in the frontier days, children encouraged their teachers by bringing them apples and other provisions from home. This is because families were often responsible for providing for their local teachers, including housing, food, and other necessities.
Nowadays, teachers provide for themselves while also pouring into our children day after day. Without much expectation of anything in return, devoted teachers are committed to instilling knowledge, tools, and resources to help our kids succeed. Because teachers play a vital role in shaping our children's minds, hearts, and characters, I believe it’s extra important for us to encourage and uplift them throughout the school year. Here are some practical ways to support your child’s teacher:
1. Add to Their Classroom Wish List
Teachers are some of the most underpaid people in society. They often have limited budgets on which they are expected to provide for most of their classroom needs. What an encouragement it would be to add to their classroom wish list by purchasing supplies for them!
Think of it this way: If each family donated just one item from a teacher’s wish list, dozens of items would be provided. Consider how you might contribute to your child’s classroom needs and get other parents to do the same!
2. Include Two Notes in Your Child’s Lunchbox
What child doesn’t like to get a love note in their lunchbox once in a while? This is a fun way to let your children know you’re thinking of them and cheering them on. But how much sweeter would it be to include two notes - one for your child and one for their teacher?
Sending positive messages throughout the year will go a long way in boosting a teacher’s confidence and strengthening them for the journey. Here are a few short messages to consider:
- Thank you for ALL you do. It doesn’t go unnoticed.
- I appreciate you more than you know. Thankful for you!
- How wonderful it is to trust my child to your care each day. Thank you so much!
Whether you send your messages by note or email, be sure to send them often. Teachers need regular doses of encouragement from their student’s parents!
3. Show Up Once in a While
It’s easy to take our kids to school and go on with our day, not stopping to think about the incredible responsibility teachers have. Their duties go far beyond educating our children! Not only do they keep our children safe, they work overtime to make sure our kids have the best learning environment.
Make it a point to show up occasionally and volunteer your time and talent. Whether it’s monitoring the children at recess, grading papers, or chaperoning field trips, choose which area you’d be best at and show your support.
If every family volunteered just one hour per month, imagine how much help that would be! Encourage your child’s teacher today by offering your time and relieving them from some of their responsibilities.
4. Don’t Underestimate $10 Gift Card
I don’t know any teacher who wouldn’t appreciate a $10 gift card toward their favorite coffee shop, restaurant, or nail salon. By surprising them with small gifts on occasion, they’ll feel ultra encouraged by your thoughtfulness.
Remember, any small token of appreciation will go a long way in helping your child’s teacher feel valued. It can even be something from home, like fresh cinnamon rolls or herbal tea. Here is a short list of inexpensive items to gift the teacher in your life:
-A set of quality pens or pencils
-A personalized journal
-Candles and bubble bath
-Packets of hot chocolate with marshmallows
5. Attend Parent/Teacher Conferences with Appreciation
Meeting with your child’s teacher can feel a bit intimidating, especially if your student is struggling. However, attending parent/teacher conferences with a heart of appreciation will go a long way in encouraging them.
Even if you’re upset about how things have been handled, try to approach them with an open mind. Be upfront and honest about what is going on, but without accusation or finger-pointing.
Most teachers are more than happy to problem solve but don’t do well when being cornered or blamed.
Remember Ephesians 4:32, which says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” How encouraging for teachers to know that parents want to work with them instead of against them!
6. Stay Informed about School Activities
One of the greatest encouragements for teachers is knowing parents are well-informed about school events and activities. This ensures that your child will be present and prepared for every event.
Stay informed about what is going on by downloading and printing the school calendar. Keep a list of important numbers handy so you won’t have to bother your child’s teacher for redundant information. Here are more ways to stay informed:
-Make sure your child’s homework is done right and handed in on time.
-Help your children show up to school in the proper attire with the proper supplies.
-Offer to call other parents to remind them of upcoming events.
-Consider developing a class newsletter that highlights monthly activities.
7. Advocate for Them
One dictionary defines the word advocate this way: to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend.
Great teachers deserve our full support and public recommendations. By speaking positively about them to other parents and school administrators, we support their career and good standing within the school system.
Consider writing a positive review or testimonial about your child’s teacher on the school's website or social media profile. And when you hear negative comments from others, try to diffuse the situation by pointing out their gifts and strengths.
Encouraging your child’s teacher throughout the year is more important than you realize. Every hard-working teacher needs to know they are making a difference in your son or daughter’s life, as well as connecting with you in a meaningful way. Make a list of how you will encourage your children’s teachers today!