It is no secret that teachers in the United States are overworked and underpaid. Even in precedented times, teachers’ responsibilities extend way beyond the classroom. Because of funding cuts, many teachers have to dip into their own paychecks to pay for proper classroom supplies. They often spend what should be their time outside of the classroom grading assignments and responding to inquiries from students and their parents.
Now with the pandemic, America’s teachers have to take on even more than what is normally asked of them. For online schools, teachers have to completely rework their class format to be completely remote. Teachers have to start almost from scratch while also running into technical difficulties on their end, on their students’ ends, and parents who cannot help their children deal with the technical difficulties. For teachers in places where they have gone back to school in person, they now have the extra pressure of accommodating to the new COVID-19 parameters with the very little resources they have, along with putting their lives on the line. Needless to say, our teachers are under tremendous stress.
Our educators are the backbone of the country. Most likely, you would not be where you are today if it were not for teachers. Considering everything that they do for us, the time is now for us to give back to our teachers by supporting them. Encouragement and praise is always appreciated and a good place to start, but at the moment it is not enough. There are little things that we can do for our teachers that make a huge difference for them. Below is a list of some things you can do (or avoid doing) for the teachers in your life that may seem small or insignificant, but go a long way!
If you are a parent:
- Ask what supplies they are in need of or running low on and offer to get it for them. If they refuse, get it anyway. Money is tight for everyone right now, but office supplies like paper, staples, or dry-erase markers do not cost very much. If cost becomes an issue, enlist the help of some other parents to distribute the prices.
- Send a virtual gift card. You’d be surprised how far just $5 can go. Gift cards for Starbucks (or any coffee place), Amazon, Target, and restaurants (support local businesses!) are greatly appreciated.
- Do NOT ask teachers how your child can get caught up on their education after the pandemic. Every student’s education has been affected. There is no one-size-fits-all catch-up method, nor do teachers have time to craft a personalized path for each of their students to make up for their losses. Instead, try reaching out to other parents to see what they have done, and brainstorm ideas.
If you are a student:
- Turn on your camera whenever you can. Teachers feel incredibly awkward talking to a cluster of grey boxes. Just seeing some faces can make their online teaching experience so much better. Plus, if you are one of few with your camera on, the teacher is more likely to remember you!
- If you are tech-savvy and your teacher has been struggling, offer your assistance for future problems.
- Send them a note of appreciation. This will make their week, maybe even their month.
If someone close to you is a teacher:
- Make/buy them a meal.
- Take care of a task or chore that they need to do. Run an errand for them, take out the trash, do laundry, do the dishes, walk the dog, etc. Even one can make their day so much easier.
- Offer your assistance whenever you can.
- Be someone they can talk to.
For some inspiration on expressing your gratitude, check out our Teacher Thank You post here. For the first 10 people who subscribe to our blog, we’ll give a $10 Amazon Card to the teacher of their choice. To take us up on the gift, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the teacher’s name, school and school email and we will send it on your behalf!
Remember, be KIND and be PATIENT. Educators are doing the best they can. Though they are pretty close to superheroes, they are human. Now more than ever they need you to step in.