It is the beginning of a new school year in the Northern Hemisphere. This is a good time to set goals and also begin good habits for the year. As our children participate in school, homeschool groups, library or park classes, clubs, Sunday Church School, and other such groups, let us as parents be mindful of those who are leading and teaching the children in these groups. This school year, let us set a goal to do a better job of supporting these teachers, and let us also begin the habits that will help us to meet that goal.
Here are a few ways that we can support our children’s teachers:
- Prayer. First and foremost, let us pray for them. They have a very important job, and will need all of the support that they can get! We can pray for them before we even meet them; and even more so as the year goes on and we learn what challenges they are experiencing with our children and/or their classmates.
- Empathy. Let us remember that these teachers are also people, and that they, too, have been made in God’s image. Let us keep this truth foremost in our minds every time we interact with them. They have feelings, they have struggles, they have needs; but they are working past all of those things to do their best in helping our children learn and grow. Having a mindset of empathy will affect every interaction with our children’s teachers, allowing us to interact with kindness and respect, and leading to mutual respect and compassion.
- Communication. It is imperative that we communicate with our children’s teachers. Now is the time to reach out to the teachers with our contact information and offer them different ways to contact us with any comments, questions, or concerns they may have regarding our child(ren). Since communication is a two-way street, now is also the time for us to initiate communication with the teachers with comments and any questions we may have. Let us get the year off to a positive start by sending supportive feedback to the teachers on what our student is learning, how the teacher has set up a learning-friendly environment, or how much we appreciate their communication with parents, etc.
- Gratitude. A simple “thank you” goes a long, long way. Let us look for things that our children’s teachers are doing and be sure to thank them for those things. Whether the teacher is a classroom teacher, a club leader, or a Sunday Church School teacher, the job that they have is a big one and often does not pay well financially. Most teachers take the job anyway because of their love for children and their desire to help our children grow. Since we share that common goal, and they are helping our children to reach it, the least we can do is thank them. Let us thank our children’s teachers regularly; perhaps even with a plate of cookies or a bundle of new pencils to accompany those thanks.
- Help. Let us find out ways in which we can assist our children’s teachers accomplish our common goal of helping children to learn. We may be able to work right in the class; or maybe we can create a display or game that can be used by the class/assemble classroom sets of items needed for learning/bake something for the class; etc. Even if we are not available to help during class time, there is always much work to do, and many teachers will be able to find something that we can do from home/as it suits our schedule that will be helpful to them. Ultimately, our goal is to allow the teachers to be able to focus more on our children and less on the logistics of making the lessons happen. (Note: even if our child’s teacher can’t think of any way in which we can help, just knowing that we are willing to help them will certainly offer them support.)
This is only a beginning of a list of what we can do to help our children’s teachers. May we be mindful of what they need, and determined to find ways to help to meet those needs. The more we work together with the teachers in our children’s lives, the smoother the year will go, and the more our children will learn. That learning is, after all, everyone’s ultimate goal for this year. Let’s do what we can to help make it happen!
One place to begin would be to think from a teacher’s perspective. Here is a list of the top 10 things teachers wish parents would do. Read it and see which of these you’re doing well, and which you may need to work on improving: http://school.familyeducation.com/parents-and-teacher/38781.html