Let’s face it. Teaching is one of the most underappreciated and undercompensated professions. Teachers can be verbally abused and treated terribly by some parents and students and are expected to maintain their professionalism.
Until you are a teacher and have done the job, you have NO IDEA how much work and love they do and provide for your children. I still get anxiety thinking of the parents who were terrible to me.
Are teachers greedy and expect parents to do a lot for them?
No, not at all! They are some of the most grateful people who appreciate the tiniest of gestures. School is about to start so I came up with a list of ten things that are easy to do and the teachers would LOVE! (Side note:I taught for twelve years (Corrin 14) and here is a list of ten things that I would have LOVED.)
- Supplies: During the beginning of school, send an extra pack of pens or colorful dry erase markers for your child’s teachers. Teachers spend a lot of their own money on supplies so an extra pack of pens would be great! Colorful dry erase markers are not in the school district budget but are so fun to use because of the bright colors!
- Rewards: Students are motivated by rewards. Teachers will have different games and competitions and need prizes to reward the students. They also may reward the kids who have improved their behavior. Teachers spend a lot of their own money on rewards. If you have an elementary school aged kid, go to the dollar store and buy a plastic container. Fill the container up with prizes from the dollar store that are age appropriate. If you have a middle school or high school aged child, go to the dollar store and buy seven of the same things that can be used for prizes (because the kids probably have seven different teachers). Examples: Bags of candy; cute pens/pencils; My high school students used to LOVE dumb dumbs. I wouldn’t do gum because that will end up under desks and on the floor.
- Lunch: If you have time, email your child’s teacher and ask if you can drop off lunch one day for them (ex: Subway, McDonalds, etc). If you have a middle or high schooler, take a different teacher each month to do this for. This would literally MAKE THEIR YEAR.
- Infestation of Germs: In the winter months, every once in awhile, send your child with a box of tissue or hand sanitizer to give to their teacher (or teachers….even high school aged). I can’t tell you how much money I spent on these items. They go so fast. I promise you that your child will use lots of Kleenex from their teachers and the school does not supply this. Do you really think a teacher would NOT have this in their class?
- Sweets: Do you like to bake? Randomly drop off a cake or cookies to your child’s school and ask them to put it in the teacher’s lunchroom. You can attach a note that says “Thank you so much for working so hard for my child. I appreciate it.” If you don’t have time to bake, stop by the donut shop one morning and drop off some donuts.
- Email: Ask your child what they like about each of their teachers and then send the teacher a nice email thanking them and mention what your child said. I know that a kind email goes very far and will keep the teacher motivated.
- Tell your child to have their teacher’s back: Talk to your child about manners: Remind your kids that being respectful and kind to their teacher is free and very important. Tell your child that if they see a kid being really mean to the teacher, it is ok to go up to the teacher privately at another time and tell the teacher how much she or he is appreciated, despite the behavior of some kids.
- Hard candy: Teachers are busy all day long and many times have to skip their lunch in order to do more work. Hard candy is always nice to have in your desk for a quick snack. Send bags of hard candy to your child’s teacher.
- Ask questions: Send an email to your child’s teacher asking if there’s anything you can do to make their life easier. (Making copies, stapling things, cutting out items, finding an activity on a certain topic they are studying, etc).
- A roll of quarters: From Corrin “There were several times that I wanted a diet coke from the vending machine or a snack and I was searching through my purse for some change. Sometimes I would forget my lunch. It would have been nice to have a roll of quarters in my desk for times where you just need some change. I bet the teacher would think of your child and smile when she went for the emergency change.”
Randomness: You don’t have to wait for Christmas to do nice things for your child’s teacher. Think about when your spouse out of the blue surprises you with something (a date, flowers, etc) how excited you are! Teachers feel the same way (especially since they are so underappreciated!). You could decide that every two months you will do something nice for your kid’s teacher. If you have high school aged kids, you could choose one teacher a month to do something for.
Another thing to remember is that middle school and high school teachers work just as hard as elementary teachers but rarely get any gifts because as many parents say “there are just too many of them.” Just remember that they are working hard and would appreciate any acknowledgment from you!
In conclusion, the little things go a LONG way when it comes to teachers. They do not expect things but are very appreciative when someone does something nice for them. I taught one year at a school where teachers were paired up with a “secret parent.” I filled out a questionnaire with my favorite things. Every month, the secret parent would drop off a surprise for me. This was SOOOOO much fun and I got really excited every month when it was drop off day.
My question for you is this: What should I have added to the list?