What do teachers really want for Teacher Appreciation Week? The Austin American-Statesman's Nicole Villalpando compiled the following list of things you can give educators this week and, more importantly, throughout the school year:
- Your support. Active parents who are partners, not skeptics, micromanagers, road blocks. Being an active parent means that you read the teacher’s notes. You engage with your child about what they are studying and reinforce it. You read to your child regularly or encourage them to read. You make sure the homework is done, but you don’t do it for your kids.
- Your help. Not everyone can sign up for the field trip or to be room parent, but you can volunteer to do something at home to bring to the classroom. I remember one teacher needed someone to cut out paper hearts for the next day’s activity. Easy, peasy. I felt good and it was one less thing on that teacher’s to-do list.
- Supplies. This is the time of year when schools are running out of everything: pencils, paper, tissues, hand-sanitizer. Often, teachers supplement using their own funds. Ask teachers what they are running low on and pick up some the next time you’re at the store. Better yet, let fellow parents know as well and organize a supply drive.
- Gift cards. Stock them with gift cards to Target or Walmart. If teachers do run low on something, even if it’s for next year, they won’t have to use their own funds. Or gift cards to places that are just for them — a favorite restaurant, coffee spot or bookstore.
- Notes of encouragement all year long. If your child came home filled with knowledge or particularly enjoyed a lesson, let your teacher now. So often, our emails to teachers are about what they aren’t doing or logistics about who is sick, when you’re picking up kids for what activity or how your children are getting home. Wouldn’t it be nice to start their day with a nice note from a parent that wasn’t about all of that?