The new school year has officially kicked off! New smells, new memories and new teachers. And although the first few days, perhaps even weeks, are shiny and bright, the newness fades and the monotony sets in. But it doesn’t have to!
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With the help of a handful of my trusty teacher friends, we’ve compiled a list of things to do throughout the year to keep the support tree strong, the love languages flowing and the dullness at bay. Who doesn’t love a mid-Fall pick me up or a post-Spring break smile?
- Tell your teacher how you feel. Well, if it’s positive anyway. A simple gesture of saying, ‘I have got your back,’ goes a long way. This gives your teacher the confidence knowing that if things get too heavy or they need a helping hand that you are there to help.
- When you cannot physically make it into school to help because of work or time constraints, reach out and ask how you can help from home. Teachers will happily send laminate work, project prep, etc. home so that you’re able to work when and where you can.
- Trust them. If they suggest you bring your child to the doctor, please at least entertain the idea. This is likely not their first rodeo, and if they suggest a ‘diagnosis,’ 9 times out of 10 it is right.
- Turn things in on time. Field trip forms, medical documents, attendance excuses, etc. Whatever it is, do your best to work with your student to get things in on time. They have enough going on and administrative forms shouldn’t have to be another reason for their stress.
- Work with your kiddo at home. Don’t just rely on your teacher to teach your kid, you need to show that you support the things that are being taught. Do some math problems, talk about money at the grocery store, read the road signs, learn about an inventor outside of school, visit our amazing Bullock Museum.
- Recognize that back to school isn’t the only crazy time of year. Be supportive in the tough months of October, April and especially May. These are times when often there is an ebb in the support, but quite often it is when the staff needs it most.
- When you want to gift them with something, try your best to make it come from the heart. A handmade card, a surprise picnic during their lunch break, a household decoration celebrating a holiday they love, etc.
- Chocolate. Enough said.
- Loving what they’re doing? Send their supervisor/superintendent/principal an email stating their great work. A midday Tuesday is perfect for this.
- From the words of a very well-loved teacher friend, “Send a little note or email…nothing major, but small tokens of appreciation let us know that you are thinking of us and appreciate the work we do. We think about your kids non stop, every day…so it’s nice to know that we are thought of too.”
- If you can, spoil your teacher with supplies. They’ve spent thousands of dollars of their own money to supply goodies for the kids to improve their learning environment. Often these expenditures are not funded by the district, so teachers use a portion of their salary to assure they are providing the best possible education for your student. If we can help, we should.
- Feed them. By providing a homemade dinner, a coffee, a slice of pie (a Specs gift card <wink>)… whatever it is, feeding them is like providing a moment of comfort and solice.
- A huge sign of love and support? Respect their time. If a conference call or zoom meet is intended for 30 min, please be courteous and allow for no more than 30 min. There are often things bookending the time frame, and it is important to not take away from other families needs or even the personal needs of the teacher.
- Write an endearing note to your teacher. Often teachers are tending to their own children, elderly parents and/or own family needs between periods, before work and into the evening. This can wear on our teachers mentally and lead them to become frail. Offering a little pick me up every so often does wonders for the soul.
- And although it may take some encouragement, think about asking them about their family and their outside life. They spend day in and day out learning about you, your family, your wants, your needs. Wouldn’t it be nice to take a minute and learn about who they are a person too?
- Be mindful of how you speak about their colleagues. Whether you are aware or not, they are friends, they support one another and they are a unit. Words travel and they can hurt.
- All in all, be nice. They likely spend more time than you do with your student. Be kind in your emails. Be thoughtful in every delivery.
Respect that teachers and school staff are a unique breed and would do nearly anything to provide happiness for our children. Perhaps returning the compliment every so often is the least we can do. Cheers to a happy, healthy and plentiful 2022-2023 school year!