Parents of school-age kids, CELEBRATE! A new school year has begun and your kids are going to be perfect angels for their teachers. Or not - somebody's kid has to be the naughty one! Whether your kid is a genius-saint-cum-laude or the class clown, their teachers are going to need your support throughout the school year. It's tempting to load up your kids' backpacks with school supplies and check that task off your mental to-do list. But after an informal poll of all my teacher friends, it turns out - their job doesn't get easier four months into the school year!
Hopefully you'll be able to appreciate the financial strain of running a classroom for thirty kids. While each teacher gets a portion of the overall school budget, those funds can dry up quite quickly. Before the school year even begins, many teachers are paying out of pocket (or, more accurately, putting it on their credit card) to complete their creative curriculum goals. While we might complain that back-to-school uniforms and supplies cost *way* too much money for a family budget, we have to consider that we aren't doing the bulk of the leg work to make sure our kids are well-rounded and well-informed thinkers. Our teachers are. And they're doing it, day in and day out, for thirty kids. It's a thankless job.
If you'd like to win parent brownie points - or, you know, just make sure your kid is being taught by someone who isn't already stressed to the max over classroom finances - consider this. A gift of needed supplies three months into the school year can be that desperately needed morale boost to get your kid's teacher through another rough week. Teachers themselves have shared a few ways that parents can be of the most help if they're so inclined.
Don't Wine About It
I'm so punny! But in all seriousness, give that teacher the gift that keeps on giving. Wine! Or their preferred alcohol, if you feel comfortable enough to ask them their tastes. If they're not a drinker (or you simply don't want to send a bottle of Jack Daniels to school with little Timmy), try to find another way to pamper them. I'd encourage you to get creative here. Maybe a fruit & cheese gift basket? An Aeropress for much-needed caffeine? Heck, even a gift card for the local car wash would be a weight off their back. Let them know you support them as people and not just as educators.
Bring On The Snot Rags
Kids are gross germ-ridden snot bags. It's true. Viruses can spread rapidly in the classroom, especially during back-to-school season when everyone is spending more time sharing space and air. While you sent two boxes of Kleenex at the beginning of the year, it's good form to re-up that commitment in the thick of cold-and-flu season. Anti-viral Kleenex are my personal favorite, along with bottles of hand sanitizer. Clorox wipes are also a great idea! Teachers know best where they need to disinfect. The pencil sharpener, the door knob, desktops. Whatever you do, don't send essential oils into a classroom. They can cause severe respiratory distress for kids with asthma. Keep your oils in your own home, and leave the Lysol for the classroom.
Talk It Out
Every single teacher I spoke to came back to a common request. Above all, your kids' teachers would deeply appreciate an open line of communication with you, the parent. It can be beyond stressful to not know how a parent will react to any news about their child. Help the teacher in your kid's life by letting them know that they can text or email you whenever they need to discuss anything regarding your kid. Keep them apprised of any major changes going on in the home, or developmental stages you notice in your child. This will only benefit your kid. If the teacher knows that the family pet just passed away, they might be able to better check in on your child's emotional wellbeing throughout the day. Open communication; it's a win-win-win!
There isn't a single way to support teachers throughout the school year. What's most important is that you show up for them just like they show up for your kid!
How have you helped your kids' teachers throughout the school year? If you're a teacher, what would help you do your best work? Educate me on Twitter @pi3sugarpi3.