The Best Ways to Show Teacher Appreciation
If parenting is the hardest job on earth, then teaching comes in as a close second.
Think about this: Teachers are with your child for several hours each and every day. They may even see him more than you do during a typical week.
They know the ins and outs of his learning style, observe him interacting with his peers, and likely hear stories about your home life.
Depending on your child’s age, teachers can be responsible for changing diapers or helping with toileting, making sure he eats, dealing with his fears and insecurities, handling emotional meltdowns, cleaning up messes, and contending with rude or disrespectful behavior.
At the same time, teachers try to bolster his self-esteem, help him learn social skills, instill a love of learning, support his developmental growth, and encourage his independence.
They do all of this while introducing reading, math, science, and history.
Now multiply that by 20 or even 30 students.
The fact is, teachers are some of the most influential people in our children’s lives and they're sorely underappreciated for all that they do.
That’s why it's important to show our gratitude for teachers, not just this week (Teacher Appreciation Week), but all year long.
Homemade gifts and Starbucks cards are great, but you can show appreciation in so many other ways throughout the year that are meaningful for the teacher, beneficial to your child…and don't cost a dime.
Become An Involved Parent
The best way to show you appreciate a teacher is to become an involved (but not over-involved) parent. When teachers feel supported by you, they want to do a better job and support you in return. In addition, a child who knows that her parents and teachers communicate on a regular basis will likely put more effort into school.
Besides regular communication about your son or daughter, parent involvement includes things like volunteering, attending school functions, and helping your child with homework.
Notice and Acknowledge
From decorating the classroom to sending home weekly newsletters, a great deal of thought and attention go into a teacher’s job. Take time to notice and acknowledge this. Very few parents do, and whenever I have, the teachers have been extremely grateful.
Keep An Open Mind
No one knows your child like you do. However, it's important to keep an open mind when hearing teacher feedback. Kids often behave differently at school and with their peers than they do at home, and may even demonstrate different talents or skills that they only explore at school. More often than not, the teacher has your child’s best interests at heart and can help support you with any challenges or opportunities that arise.
I’ve come across many parents who don't want to share important information with teachers because they're afraid it will reflect poorly on them as parents, or that the teacher will somehow use it against their child. By “important information,” I mean anything that could impact your child’s behavior or school performance: health concerns, learning difficulties, behavior problems, social or family issues, and personality traits. Though it can sometimes feel uncomfortable sharing personal details with a teacher, in the long run, honest communication benefits everyone.
Write it Down
At the end of every school year, I sit down and write heartfelt thank you notes to my children’s teachers. I highlight each teacher’s unique qualities and point out how they positively impacted my life and my child’s life. Doing this not only gives teachers a wonderful gift to cherish, it also helps me recognize their value even more.
In the comments below, let us know: In what ways have teachers gone above and beyond in reaching out to your children or positively influencing their school experience? How did you (or could you) say thank you?
Special thanks to all of my girls' teachers over the years: Anat, Arlene, Aviva, Barbara, Bari, Becky, Ben, Bernice, Betty, Bina, Bonnie, Brenda, Carla, Cheryl, Clara, Cristen, David, Dina F., Dina S., Elise, Emilie, Gina, Herb, Hope, Jaime, Jodell, Karen B., Karen D., Karen S., Karen T., Kari, Ken, Lauren, Leslie, Lindsey, Lydia, Lynda, Mary, Melissa, Melinda, Meredith, Naama, Nancy, Nina, Patti, Patti, Sherry, Sharon, Shelley, Stephanie, Susan, Yael P., and Yael Z. We love you!