It’s that time of the year again – Teacher Appreciation Week.
If you’re looking for a list of gifts for your child’s favorite teacher, this isn’t it. If that’s what you need, check out this post instead for some incredibly helpful ideas.
What I have here instead is a list of suggestions for how to support your child’s teacher throughout the year, and, especially this month. Not just because it’s Teacher Appreciation Week, but because it’s the time of year when many teachers decide whether or not to sign a contract for next year.
They have to decide if they plan to return to the many unknowns of the fall: how many students they might have, potential budget cuts for many of their resources, and new legislation that could govern everything from the already carefully chosen words they use with students to what books they keep in their classroom library.
In this year, in this state, many are choosing not to return to the classroom, and they’re taking their considerable talents to other jobs that offer higher pay, less stress, and no active shooter drills.
5 Ways to Show Teachers Appreciation
As nice (and beloved) as that friendly coffee mug filled with their favorite candy might be, it’s not the only thing these professionals are going to need to keep going.
Consider the following instead:
- A Happy Email – There are so many moments when my kids do or say something inspired by what they’ve learned in school. Our 4th grader regularly convinces his younger siblings to play “Patriots,” a game he created after learning about the Revolutionary War. Our 1st grader teaches us new watercolor painting techniques and does so using what I’m sure is the same language as her art teacher. The teachers don’t always hear this stuff. Send an email. It takes 5 minutes.
- An Administration Email – School principals and school board members don’t always get the good news either. We’re quick to communicate when something has gone terribly wrong (at least in our opinion) but rarely get notified when a teacher is really knocking it out of the park. Again, 5 minutes.
- A Social Media Post – Tell your friends how amazing your child’s teacher is. Put it on the school’s Facebook page. In the devastating cesspool of negativity found on many platforms, put some happy out there. And tag your teacher.
- A Classroom Visit – Teachers are used to spending their days talking to kids, sitting in small chairs, and explaining why we keep our hands to ourselves. But they also love to have another adult in the room, especially one who can make copies or go on caffeine runs. If your schedule doesn’t allow for it, offer your particular talents another way. Email other parents. Record yourself reading a book. Create artwork for the walls. Use your skills.
- A Call to your Legislator – Sometimes sending that form letter or leaving a message at your congressperson’s office feels as useful as spitting in the wind. Do it anyway. Here’s a link to where you can find your legislator. Regardless of your political opinion, be involved. Tell your legislator why schools need money and resources and respect for their professional staff. Or just tell them how amazing your child’s teacher is and leave it at that. Nobody can disagree with that.
Teachers matter. But they need support, and not just during Teacher Appreciation Week.
How can you show teacher appreciation?