I was on my way to the mall when I noticed the bumper sticker on the car in front of me. “If you can read this, thank a teacher,” it said. It had been twenty years since I enrolled in school as a first grader, and I had never taken the time to thank her with a note. I went home that day and wrote a note to my first-grade teacher.
National Teacher Appreciation Week is May 4-8, 2015,. There are so many ways to say thanks. Our children have many “teachers” in their lives. Whether your kids are in public school, Christian day school, or are being homeschooled, there is always a teacher to thank. Additionally, if your children attend Sunday school or participate in kids’ clubs on Wednesday evenings, there are teachers to thank. When your child is involved in sports, there’s a teacher-coach to thank.
We do well to model that appreciation in front of our children. We do well to help them develop an attitude of gratitude for those folks who invest in their lives and the lives of others. When Dave and I were raising our brood, we attempted to model appreciation and helped them with notes to their teachers. Sometimes, I confess, I had to hide my frustration with a certain teacher and find good, truthful things that could be said. Amazingly, when we took the time to say thanks, we saw things to appreciate we had not considered before.
When our half-dozen were in school, we invited their teacher(s) to our home for a family-style meal near the end of the school year. Our house wasn’t fancy. In fact, in those days, we had plaster peeling from the dining room walls. Yet we had a great time showing our appreciation for the hard work done those 180 days a year.
You might not be into serving a meal in your home, but there are plenty of other ways to say thanks.
Appreciation. A note of appreciation from you and from your child is always in order. Even if your child has a teacher of whom you are not fond, there are certainly things that can be appreciated. Helping your child write a note of appreciation will show your child the right way to write a note and will help him realize what he really does have. In counting our blessings, we gain an appreciation for those things which we often fail to recognize.
Benevolence. [definition: 1. : disposition to do good. 2. a : an act of kindness. b : a generous gift.] A baked treat or casserole that can be used later is a great idea. What teacher wouldn’t enjoy a plate of brownies, a loaf of bread, or a casserole for later use? Mix up your family’s favorite one evening and make a double batch. How hard is that?!Your child’s teacher will be blessed, and so will you. Try my recipe for Poppyseed bread. Pick up some disposable pans and you can just send the bread in the pan. You just put eleven ingredients into a bowl, mix it for two minutes, then bake it for about an hour. Your child can help with this recipe, and he will be so proud to tell his teacher that he made this.
Coupons. Teachers can use help in so many areas. A few hours here or there can make a difference. Give a coupon for volunteer hours in the teacher’s classroom. Teachers appreciate help with copying, bulletin boards, organizing and clean up, and with classroom activities and events. Depending on the school your child attends, you might be able to man a study time or cafeteria time so the teacher can have a break one day in the year. Teachers are kept busy with end-of-the-year activities, so offer one or two (or more) hours of your time. It’s so little to give, and you’ll learn to know your children’s classmates as well.
DILIGENCE. The greatest gift of appreciation we can give a teacher is to send them students that are respectful, obedient, and diligent. Let your child’s teacher know that you’re in his corner. Be the parent who is diligent in making certain homework is done, and who never takes a child’s side of the story without listening to the teacher’s side first. Letting a teacher know that you’re in her corner and that you will do everything you can at home to ensure that she has a great remainder of the school year is one of the best gifts you can give. Even though we’re nearing the end of this school year, there’s another year just around the bend. Prepare your kids this summer so they’ll be some the best students the teacher has ever had. One of the greatest compliments a parent and a student can receive is to be told that a teacher is delighted when he finds out your child will be in his class. What are the characteristics that make a teacher desire a certain child? Think about that, and then be diligent in helping your child become a delight to his teacher.