Z just finished his first week of teaching. He leaves early, dressed not quite casually but also not fancy with lunch box in hand. He comes home late, having forgotten his lunch box at school because he was too tired to really think. You see, the first week of teaching is one of the hardest weeks of the year. Teachers everywhere collapse into bed by 8:30 after the first week. Over the weekend, they go home and work to learn as much as possible about their new students. They spend the weekend planning lessons for the coming weeks. Teaching is such good work, but it is also hard work. Here are some things I pray I remember someday when Ruthie is in school:
#1. Teachers are on our side. I know that sometimes we can feel like this isn’t the truth, but I promise that your child’s teacher cares deeply for them (like any other field, there can sometimes be bad seeds. But this is not a common occurrence). They celebrate when your baby accomplishes a new task, they cry when your kid has a tough day, they pray for your student, they push your little one to be their very best – from kindergarten all the way to graduation. Remember that your teachers are human, and they only want what’s best for your kiddos.
#2. “Thank you” goes a long way. This is so simple, just two little words but they can literally make a teacher’s day. Write a note, send a text, give them a call, say it at afternoon pick up. It doesn’t matter how or where, but “thank you” is huge.
#3. Gift cards are even better. If you can afford it, I challenge you to get a $5 Starbucks gift card and take it to your child’s teacher on Monday. Teacher’s spend dollars upon dollars of their own personal money in order to be sure their classroom is the best it can be for their students, the least we can do is treat them to some coffee. Everyone likes to be recognized for their hard work, and a hot cup of coffee is always nice.
#4. Teachers are actually world class actors. You will see them greet you with a smile, talk to children in soft controlled voices, and roll with the punches when something gets thrown or spilled on them even though internally they are going mad. This is the life of the teacher. They do whatever it takes to build relationships so that, in the end, they can forge strong relationships with their kids and parents. Teaching is relationship building. They put on a good face in hopes of keeping doors open and building bridges to connect with their students.
My prayer is that as we move through this school year, we will take the time to remember our student’s teachers. To pray for them, to lift them up, to thank them for loving our kiddos. There is no one aside from us who spends more time with our kids, let’s remember that and pour into our teachers.