With Teacher Appreciation Month here, there are so many things going on in the lives of teachers. Our bodies are tired, but our hearts are full. I think of the 10ish months we have with the kids as similar to pregnancy. In the beginning, we don’t know the child, but we’re surprised and excited to meet them for the first time. We love them even before we know them, and we do everything we can to do what’s best for them in the time we have them. We don’t know what we’re gonna get, but in the words of Forrest Gump, our class is “like a box of chocolates” that turns into a family sometime along the way. Some days seem like forever, and other weeks we just blink and it’s over. Before we know it, they become a year older, and as ready as they possibly can be for the next grade level.
End-of-the-Year Teacher Thoughts
By May, as the standardized tests come to a close and we leave the rest up to the powers that be, we may relax with the kids a little. Now, we can have more fun with the kids! We do more meaningful activities in the teachable moments (which is what teaching really is whether you’re in the classroom or at home), and our hearts are full at the close of the year. It’s a bittersweet ending. We’re excited about summer; we’re excited to take a break to recharge our tired minds, bodies, hearts, and emotions. But, we’re also sad. We’re sad to know that we won’t continue on this journey with these kids every year to see how far they grow after they step outside our classroom. We’re filled with the hope that they’ll choose the path of love. We hope they will be as successful as we know they can be if they continue to be kind to others, work hard, and make good choices as they grow.
I had a parent friend whose child in kindergarten was asking about teacher appreciation gifts. One of the best books and marriage quizzes my husband and I took was The 5 Love Languages. It really helped us to understand and serve one another better. It’s helped us love and respect each other in the way that the other feels loved. Teachers’ love languages are not that different.
If you’re looking to love on teachers, first of all, check out Forest Oaks Elementary’s PTO Facebook page 2021-2022. They have been AMAZING at doing nice things for teachers that are meaningful, helpful, and practical. It may not be the case for every teacher, parent, child, and school, but at this school we count them as blessings! Next, check out these teacher love languages.
1. Words of Affirmation
Teachers really do love cards, gift cards, notes from kids, emails, or thoughtful messages from a parent expressing their appreciation. You can also do the following things to make a huge difference in the school year for you, your child, and your child’s teacher:
- Avoid saying unkind words about your child’s teacher in front of your child,
- Listen to multiple accounts of a story your child comes home to tell you
- Share with and listen to the teacher with an open mind in order to help your child.
Your child’s teacher has just as much of a desire for your child’s success as you do during the school year. All words have power, so we should all use them wisely and teach our children to do the same.
2. Quality Time
You can show your teacher love by making wise use of time a priority in your household. Time affects a child’s success in so many areas! Time spent reading bedtime stories together, time working on homework, time spent enjoying your child to help them feel securely loved, time working on your relationship with your child’s other parent, time prioritizing your own health (since you can’t parent well from an empty cup), getting your child to school on time, and getting your child to bed on time are all important for a child’s school experience. Truly, time is our greatest resource, so we must use it well!
3. Acts of Service
Teaching and parenting in the years following the pandemic have changed forever. These past years have presented new challenges for parents to help our schools. One thing I’ve noticed this year is the generosity of parents. Parents seem to be more willing to give to fundraisers, as well as give of their time to volunteer in the schools and chaperone field trips when they can. I’ve found that when teachers are intentional about communicating and sharing needs, parents are often willing to help out in whatever way they can.
Many parents are working, taking care of multiple children, possibly single-parenting, and just surviving life, but it is evident that every parent cares about their child and does what they can. It’s so helpful when parents send in needed supplies, help make copies, cut laminated papers, create flashcards, offer to be a guest mystery reader or a career week speaker, create elaborate class party settings, collaborate with other parents, come to the school (if allowed), and show up on field trips. This is no easy task!
We know how valuable your time is, and when you help, it truly makes a difference for teachers. You can save us hours just by doing a few things to help our class. Thank you—especially to the room moms and PTO moms out there. You make a HUGE difference in our schools!
Gifts are always greatly appreciated! We’ll take whatever you find in your heart to give. Even when you don’t know what to give, you can always fall back on the golden rule. ‘Nuff said. 😉
5. Coffee and Kindness
A lot of teachers like Diet Drinks, Mountain Dews, Cokes and Dr. Peppers, especially. I really like sparkling water or fun drinks from local shops like O’Henry’s or 4th & Inches. I’m sure there are other great spots out there, too! Teachers like nice sweet and salty snacks, breakfast foods, lunch food, snack bars, etc. You name it, we like it!
Parents, what are your favorite ways to appreciate teachers? Teachers, what are your love languages?