Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Teachers: We Salute You!!

After spending approximately 18 weeks as a substitute teacher in my local school district, my participation in Teacher Appreciation Week is not optional. I've had an extended close-up view of this little community called a classroom, and I’m amazed there are humans (I might argue they are super-human) who teach full-time, year after year.

I owe them all some sort of salute. I did my best to salute them publicly in our local newspaper, and you can read that article by clicking here
Whether you know it or not, you owe teachers a salute too. Here are some practical ways to salute a teacher this week, or any time of the year.

  1. Help your child study: Children learn best when education is viewed as a partnership between teachers and parents. Teachers guide students through a systematic curriculum, and any support parents can offer—helping to memorize math facts, memorize “sight words,” studying spelling words and reading aloud—only benefits the student. And when students learn those basics, everyone in the classroom benefits.
  2. Volunteer in the classroom: You could read with a student, help with math assignments, and review multiplication flash cards. Sure, there are computer programs for all of these skills, but there’s something about a human smile and a genuine “attaboy” that instills confidence that a computer simply cannot duplicate.
  3. Pencil sharpening: Honestly, I feel like this deserves an entirely separate post. Pencil sharpening is a noisy classroom distraction, and for some unexplainable reason, students LOVE to sharpen pencils. It’s like a special kind of music which is particularly soothing when a teacher is talking. I can’t explain it. It’s just a universal fact. So, if you really want to salute a teacher, stop in after school and sharpen all the pencils. You can also purchase good pencils that actually sharpen, like Ticonderoga brand. There are pencils (often the cheap ones we parents buy to save a dime—I’m guilty) that never actually sharpen so students just stand there at the sharpener grinding their pencil all the way down to the eraser. Hint: Dixon brand and basically anything glittery never sharpen well.
  4. Personalize your salute: Ask a teacher what they want or need in the classroom. Perhaps the teacher does a novel study and could use extra copies of a particular book. Perhaps you could donate a copy of a classic the teacher uses in the classroom like Sara Plain & Tall, Little House on the Prairie, or a Dr. Seuss classic (For example: Green Eggs & Ham, Bartholomew & the Oobleck, Oh the Places You’ll Go just to name a few).
  5. Give a gift: I don’t know of a teacher who wouldn't be elated to receive a restaurant gift certificate. After being on her feet all day and tending to all manner of emotional, physical and academic needs, she might just want to sit down and eat what someone else has prepared.

So happy Teacher Appreciation Week to all of you who are in the trenches daily cultivating and nurturing our children.

We salute you!!!