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Supporting Our Teachers

Aug 04, 2022 ● By Sean Flattery
Teaching can be one of the most rewarding and challenging careers. This is why it is important for parents, students, and the community to celebrate and support teachers often. Bringing an apple or Kleenex to school – while much appreciated – are not what they used to be. Let’s take this opportunity to reevaluate what it means to support teachers in our time.

Be a Teacher Ambassador
We can all celebrate and encourage teachers each and every day as teacher ambassadors. Make it your mission to show and tell about all the great things teachers are doing. It is easy to get sucked into negativity online and in social groups. Let’s change the narrative and be teacher-positive. If you run into a problem, use the proper channels and remember, one teacher is not a reflection of all, and chances are, problems may be a misunderstanding.

Assume the Best
We all know there are two sides to every story. At the end of the day, teachers are human too. They have bad days. They deserve grace and an opportunity to explain and – if warranted – to apologize. Avoid a combative exchange by
coming to teachers calmly. This should happen first via email and preferably a day or two later, so you and your child and the teacher have time to calm down and think clearly. Maybe the issue wasn’t even really about the teacher, maybe your kiddo just had a bad day and needed someone to be mad at – we all know parents and teachers are usually the safest people for kids to take their anger
out on. Teachers are going to be much more responsive and willing to make things right if they feel supported, respected, and safe engaging with you.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to teachers.

Respect Their Time
It is easy to forget how requests on teachers’ time can add up. They do a lot, in addition to active teaching.
• Writing and preparing lesson plans with differentiation for each subject
and period and accommodations for individual students
• Emailing home about upcoming tests or events
• Grading, giving feedback, reporting grades online, and emailing home for
students failing or at risk
• Analyzing the success or failures and reporting smart goals
• Preparing for and attending team, staff, and IEP/504 meetings
• Professional development - they need to stay on the cutting edge to be relevant
• Helping students and sending home missing work
• Warming up their coffee, or sprinting to the restroom - if there is time left!

Even though teachers will be more than happy to hear from you, before reaching out, consider: Is this something to talk to your child about to help them advocate for themselves, or, does it require the teacher’s attention?

Donate Time and Supplies
Ask yourself, “What can I do to assist my child’s teacher this year?” Here are a few ideas:

-Buying gift cards
-Purchasing from wish lists
-Sharing about funding teacher projects on social media
-Volunteering for field trips
-Volunteering weekly to stuff folders or read with students
-Coming in as a guest speaker
-Cutting, laminating, or prepping lesson materials (sometimes this can be done from home)

This list is actually endless. What is your skillset and what can you do to help?

We’re All in This Together 
If you know your child might need a little extra assistance in the classroom, share that with his or her teacher in advance. Remember, teachers love their students — anything you can do to help them is appreciated.

Don’t forget to check in again after winter break. If he/she still doesn’t take you up on your offer, then just send a nice thank you note and maybe a gift card too. We can all do small things to make a difference. Supporting teachers is a great place 
to start. 

About the Author
Hi, I’m Sheena, a former teacher, coach, and professional development leader. I taught in rural Washington state for two years, and at Lincoln Public Schools for five years at Pound Middle School. I have a MA in Teaching from Gonzaga
University and have taught just about every subject at some point, though my passion was teaching middle school students who struggled with reading. I loved teaching and presently spend time in a middle school as part of the TeamMates program while working as a Digital Marketing Strategist, and editing for Lincoln Kids Magazine, with Eleanor Creative. I guess you could say, this
article is one way I am hoping to support teachers in 2022.
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