The end of spring semester also sees the ending of the school year for most children. From my vantage point, it seems that teachers are too often criticized and not often enough praised. Having once taught junior high students as well as college, I remember how hard it is to teach, and how, sometimes, it seems that everyone wants to tell you how badly you’re doing your job.
Being a good teacher is very hard work. It takes patience, dedication, and time, time to prepare, to grade, and to take care of the hundreds of little problems that can come up in the day. Maybe that’s why, according to one poll, 50% of all teachers leave the profession by their fifth year.
So this week, thank a teacher. I know that when I meet a former student who tells me that I helped him or her become a better writer, I feel good about my years in the classroom.
- Write a thank-you note. Be specific about how your child’s teacher has made a difference to your child.
- Volunteer to help out when you can.
- Organize a class appreciation event. (Have all the children in the class write why their teacher is special to them on a piece of paper. Place all the pieces in a jar for the teacher to pull one out each day.)
- Support education initiatives in your city. (According to one study, teachers would have to get a 30% raise in order to make competitive salaries with other professions that require equivalent levels of education.)
But even if your gratitude is expressed in a one verbal heart-felt thank-you, you’ll make a big difference in a teacher’s day.