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Bless a Teacher This School-Year

     Last year was my daughters’ first experience in the public schools and I was a nervous wreck.  My kids, on the other hand, were excited about the school bus, the friends in their classes, and resource courses like art and computer. 

     During that first year, we were so blessed by amazing teachers who went far beyond my expectations to personally assess their students, adjust the curriculum accordingly, and encourage academic excellence, creativity, kindness and critical thinking.   My daughters blossomed and thrived under their care.

    My heart’s desire was to bless these hard-working educators who invest so much in the lives of my children.  Here are some ideas that worked for us:

  • Pray for them:  No, we can’t solicit prayer requests or set up prayer groups in the public schools.  But, that doesn’t stop moms from getting on their knees for students and teachers.  I actually started a group through Moms In Prayer International with two other moms last year and we were encouraged every week by God’s consistent answers to our every prayer.

    We met once a week to pray for our own kids and the schools they attend.  Each week, we asked God to give wisdom strength, energy, and joy to the teachers and administrators.  We prayed specially during special events like testing and school picture week when the schedules are topsy-turvy.  We also prayed for the custodial staff and cafeteria workers.   To find agroup for your school or to find out about starting a group, please visit Moms In Prayer International.
  • Volunteer: You may think this option is only for stay-at-home moms, but there’s a great deal of flexibility for school volunteers.  Many schools have a community coordinator or volunteer coordinator on staff who can work with you to find a perfect job that fits your schedule and talents. 

    You could help with the school newsletter, serve on the PTA, man the prize the table at a school carnival, shelve books in the school library (that was my job!!), listen to children read, walk kids back and forth to testing or pictures on special schedule days, take kids to the library for AR testing, make copies, and more.

  • Send Supplies:  We all get the lengthy school supply list at the beginning of the year, but keep in mind that supplies need to be replenished throughout the school year.  Many times teachers and teaching assistants are buying glue sticks and pencils with their own money.  Also, remember that some parents cannot afford to buy supplies for their kids, meaning there may not be enough pencils, paper, and crayons to go around.  As the year progresses, consider sending in some of these supplies (depending on grade level):
    • Pencils
    • Paper
    • Notebook reinforcers
    • Dry erase markers (they sometimes prefer the finer point)
    • Glue sticks (We found this to be the most requested item at the elementary school level)
    • Tissues
    • Clorox wipes

You can also just periodically check with your child’s teacher to see if there’s anything he or she is running short on.

  • Show respect:  Let’s face it, when we think there’s a problem, we Mama Bears have a way of becoming abrasive, tough, and hard to handle.  Remember that the teacher you are talking to is a person with feelings, too.  Be sure to handle concerns appropriately.  You’re much more likely to have success that way.
    • First of all, don’t believe everything your child says.  Remember that they are filtering situations and only telling their side of the story.  Give the teacher a chance to tell his or her side of the story, as well.
    • Give your child the chance to handle things on her own.  The first few weeks of school, my strong reader of a daughter was bringing home books she could have read in preschool.  I was ready to call the teacher and ask to adjust her reading assignments.  Instead, my daughter simply told the teacher, “I think these books are too easy.  May I read something else?” and the teacher started moving her up.  A six-year-old was perfectly able to handle this problem without Mom’s “help.”
    • Ask questions rather than making assertions and demands.  Don’t tell them what to do.  They are professionals.  Trust that maybe they have some input.  Ask questions like:
      • How can we have more success this year?
      • What do you think we can do differently at home?  What can we change in the classroom?
      • What behaviors are you noticing in the classroom that we can work on?
      • How can we work together to solve this problem?
    • Never show up at the classroom unexpected and demand their time.  Don’t try to hold a conference with a teacher on Back to School Night or on Open House. They are busy and overwhelmed with the parents of 20+ students during those times.  It’s unlikely they’ll be able to give you the attention you want or even remember what you talk about.  Always ask for a conference time---maybe even over the phone---at their convenience to talk about your child.
    • Don’t teach your kids to disrespect teachers by saying bad things about them at home.  Instead, always speak with respect and consideration of teachers in front of your kids and teach your children to assume the best whenever possible.
  • Be an encouragement:  Many of us like to shop for the perfect teacher gift. I saw the cutest idea the other day for a back to school craft for teachers here.  Check it out! 

    We try to do things like handmade gifts, snacks, chocolate, gift cards to area restaurants or Starbucks, hand cream and other personal gifts.  The best gift, though, is a thoughtful, personal thank you note telling them just what you appreciate about them as a teacher.  That’s something that fits every budget and that they can cherish forever.  Teachers probably hear plenty of times through the year what’s wrong.  Let’s be sure we take the time to tell them what’s right and to thank them for it.

     It’s more than a little scary to entrust our kids to teachers and school administrators that we don’t really know.  That’s such a powerful reason to be in prayer for them and to try to make this relationship a successful one.  Ultimately, we can be a blessing to teachers by keeping in mind what Paul said: “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24 NLT).

To read more devotional thoughts from Heather King, check out her blog here: http://heathercking.wordpress.com/

Copyright © 2008-2015 Heather King

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