If you thought you struggled to transition to homeschooling this past spring, imagine what teachers have had to tackle. Many had to master a new skill set, and instead of relaxing this summer, they were busy writing two collections of lesson plans to prepare for every contingency. These professionals do a lot, and they rarely get the respect they deserve. They aren’t only educators — they also serve as counselors, coaches and nurses. Here are eight ways that you can treat the teachers you love well this coming school year.
1. Attend Back-to-School Night
Imagine throwing a party — and no one attending. That’s how teachers feel on back-to-school night when they spend hours preparing handouts and elevator speeches only to see a handful of moms and dads. What’s worse is spending the upcoming weeks fielding multiple questions they could have answered at once. If possible, make arrangements to attend your school’s event. Make sure to bring a pen and pencil to take notes.
2. Chaperone Field Trips
Can you imagine running a field trip and losing a student? This fear leaves many teachers shaking, even unwilling to organize such events. It can prove challenging to find chaperones with today’s hectic work schedules. Therefore, if you have the time, accompany your child’s class on their trip to the zoo or science center. The more adult eyes supervise the antics, the lower the risk that a student will cause trouble or get lost.
3. Keep Your Kiddo Organized
One significant cause of stress for students and teachers alike is missing homework assignments. Do your part to help your child stay on top of their responsibilities by getting them a planner — and teaching them how to use it. After school, sit down with your child and share a snack while you review their upcoming assignments. Help your youngster prioritize projects and estimate the time necessary for completing each one. As they finish tasks, help them make the requisite adjustments to their schedule.
4. Don’t Help With Homework Too Much
While you do want to teach your child soft skills like time management, don’t sweat it if you can’t master their calculus equations. Research shows that excessive parental assistance with homework leads to feelings of inadequacy and can hinder skill development. Instead, guide your child on how to find the help they need. Their teacher can partner with you in this endeavor. Reach out to them about helping your youngster find a study group or ask how they prefer students to approach them for tutoring assistance.
5. Arrange a Luncheon
With the changes wrought by COVID, many teachers will now spend their lunch break in their classrooms. While most don’t mind, dining with the littles every day gets exhausting. You need an adult break sometimes — so do they. If you have the means, why not organize a luncheon? You and other parent volunteers can monitor classrooms while teachers retreat to the faculty lounge for a catered meal. Be sure to include selections for those with dietary restrictions so that everyone can participate.
6. Stock Their Supply Cabinets
Teachers always pay a tidy sum out of personal pocketbooks for supplies, and the $250 allowable tax deduction doesn’t come close to reimbursing them. Now, with COVID-19 remaining a threat, many will spend even more on wipes and hand sanitizer. Ease their burden if you are among the financially fortunate. Stock their classrooms with pencils, pens — and, in today’s world, extra disposable masks and disinfectants.
7. Advocate for Education
Teachers continue to hoe a hard row. Many of them have medical conditions that put them at an elevated risk from infection, but they have little choice but to return to the classroom. One out of every five educators must work a second job to make ends meet — a pressing problem in right-to-work states with minimal union representation. Demands from the public at large often make firmer impressions on the minds of public officials than those from teachers themselves. Get involved and advocate for education. Write letters, call your elected representatives and ask them to support school funding. Support measures to increase educators’ pay in areas where they struggle.
8. Cut Them Some Slack
Finally, your child’s teacher isn’t immune from unrealistic expectations and impossible demands in the wake of COVID-19. Please don’t take the attitude that they’re lucky to have jobs and should suck it up. Instead, understand that they are doing the best they can with the resources they have available. Try not to raise a fuss if a lecture suffers an interruption from a dropped internet signal on the teacher’s end. They will do everything they can to restore functionality. Likewise, avoid making overarching criticisms such as, “online schooling is terrible” on social media. Instead, address your concerns directly if you feel like your child’s needs remain unmet.
Treat Your Child’s Teacher Well This Year With These Eight Tips
Education is a challenging profession, and the pandemic’s rapid-fire changes create extra stress on instructors. Treat your child’s teacher well this year with these eight tips.