Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

Being an educator in this country can be a pretty thankless job, especially under the current administration (no, this post isn’t going to get political, you can keep reading).

Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week.

Stop for just a minute and think about where you are right now and how many teachers had an impact on you meeting your goals. Next to parents (and often more than), teachers have the biggest impact on our lives. I know my life has been directly impacted and guided by the amazing teachers I have had a long the way, and my kids have benefited from the dedication, compassion, commitment, and kindness of so many teachers along the way.

It is a thankless job most of the time.

  • Teachers are significantly underpaid
  • Teachers spend over $500 of their own money each year on supplies (only $250 of that is deductible from taxes, and lawmakers tried to take that away (but failed)
  • Most teachers must get creative about how to pay for everything
  • Many teachers work 12 hour days

Teachers spend more waking hours with kids than parents do, and they are required – in addition to teaching – to watch for and report suspected abuse, do miles of paperwork, prepare kids for state testing (no, this is not teaching), deal with irrational parents, nurture students, and of course, now, some of them might have to carry guns and defend the students from armed assailants.

We need to have a big change in the way we value our educators. They really are the foundation of our society and have a huge impact on our kids. While we’re waiting for school districts to pay more and for the government to appreciate the value of teachers more, here are some things you can do to #ThankATeacher:

  • Volunteer in your child’s classroom. Even an hour or two a week can make a difference.
  • Donate supplies.
  • Make sure your child does their homework.
  • Tell the teacher when they’re doing a great job, not just when you have a concern or complaint.
  • Ask the teacher what they need and how you can help.
  • Teach your child to be respectful and kind – to their teacher and to other children.
  • Attend parent-teacher conferences.
  • Join the PTA (I never did this one, but I hear it’s a great way to be involved) 🙂
  • Encourage your child to read – even before they begin school.

Teachers make a difference, but they need every parent’s help to be effective.