I always view holidays as an opportunity to reflect and to incorporate the value of that day into my life moving forward. Today is Thanksgiving; if you choose to observe this day, it should be rooted in gratitude. Gratitude so often gets cast aside when it comes to the professionals that serve students and their families. It should not take Thanksgiving or Teacher Appreciation Week for parents to show their appreciation and gratitude for teachers. If you are stuck, here are some ways to show gratitude throughout the school year.
Support classroom projects and initiatives.
Great teachers are the ones who will bend over backward to give their students unique experiences. Many times, they set out on this ambitious path without knowing how to pull it off. They might want students to participate in a hands-on experience, but they need supplies. Parents can donate money or help find supplies. If the teacher has a Donors Choose, support it even if all you can give is $5.00. If you cannot support financially, word of mouth helps. My children have participated in great experiences, but they could not have done if their teachers did not have support.
Ask how you can help.
Teachers do receive a prep period. Prep time frequently gets taken away with parent conferences, team meetings, department meetings, data analysis, or professional development which means teachers always have leftover tasks to complete. Each teacher has different needs, so ask how you can help. I helped out one of my son’s teachers this school year by cutting out math flashcards. It was a task I could complete at home and send back to school with my son. I know she appreciated my help.
Write a letter of appreciation.
People know I am tough on teachers. I have even been accused of having standards too high for any teacher to reach. That is not true. My sons have had teachers whom I respect and who have made a significant difference in my children’s lives. Teachers need to hear they are making a difference. The same teachers who are making an impact might be thinking about throwing in the towel. Words of thanks might help them stay in the profession. I do practice what I preach. If you haven’t read my piece about my sons’ second-grade teacher, you should.
Teaching is a noble profession, but too many times, it is a thankless job. If a teacher has made a difference in your children’s lives, show your gratitude. It will go a long way.