To all the parents out there, I know how much you love you children. I know how much you worry that they’re “on par” with other kids their age, that their social skills are developing appropriately, and that they are displaying good manners and are kind to other children. I also know how difficult it is to maintain your cool when they are bickering with a sibling over the most ridiculous thing, when they complain they’re just “too tired” to do their homework or nightly reading, or when they find the most inappropriate time of all to ask you a million questions. Yet we somehow summon up the patience. We smile. We feign interest. We make them feel important, smart, cherished, and loved. It’s our job as parents. It’s also a teacher’s job, for each and every one of the twenty-something kids sitting in his or her classroom on any given day.
Your child’s teacher spends about six hours a day with your child. I’m going to guess that’s either the same or more waking hours than you spend with your child. He or she has the job of teaching the curriculum which in and of itself is quite a task. Then they must attempt to make it engaging and fun. Once that’s accomplished, then add all the daily challenges. “I’m tired (or hungry or thirsty)!” “I need to go to the nurse!” “So-and-so keeps looking at me!” “When’s lunch (or special or gym)?” “Can I go to the bathroom (for the third time)?” These are our kids, folks! (I certainly know which one is mine- she’s a chronic clinic visitor). I would always think, when I was teaching, if only some of these parents could see how their children behaved. Now, I’m not talking about gross misconduct, just the annoying behavior that is oh, so typical in young children.
As a teacher, we act as a parent for six hours a day, five days a week, for roughly 180 days a year. Not to one, or two, or three, but to roughly twenty boys and girls. We dry tears and give band-aids. We resolve fights between friends and reassure everyone that they’ll be friends again tomorrow. We listen without judgement about what happens in your home and boy, do we hear about everything! We summon an extraordinary amount of patience each and every day. With a headache. With a cold. When we’re worried about our own kids. When we have to pee. When we know that we’re not getting a raise again this year. We’re in it for the same reason you became a parent- for the love.
This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week (tomorrow, May 3rd, 2016 is the official “Teacher Appreciation Day”). Take a few moments to think of a way to say thank you to the teachers that are playing such huge roles in your child’s development. Flowers. A small gift. A letter or a card from your child. An email from you to the principal with your teacher cc’d on it. How you say thanks is not important. Just make sure you do!
Here are some creative ideas if you’re feeling crafty 🙂
This year since my older ones are in middle school and high school and the baby is not yet in any school, $5 Starbucks gift cards it is (yes, I am taking the easy way out). Someone once asked me if $5 is too small of an amount to give. Not at all! Think of it as you’re buying the teacher their favorite coffee (plus, since each of my girls have 9 teachers, that’s almost $100!)
Plus, one additional note- I think the lesson we are teaching our children by saying thanks is just as important as the message of appreciation to the teacher. We want our children to be grateful and appreciative and this is a great place to start. Children are naturally excited to present something to their teacher and it serves us well as parents to use that to our advantage to promote thoughtfulness and appreciation.