With a breath of relief, and maybe even a few tears, many parents watched their kids go back to school last month. School bags were packed full of pencils, erasers, markers, and many other supplies requested by teachers. The supplies sent along with your student will absolutely help your teachers right away to get the school year going, but are there other ways to continue that support throughout the year?
Teachers are the backbone of our society. They spend large amounts of time with our children helping to mold and shape them, on top of teaching them about the world around them. It takes an extreme amount of dedication and passion to be a teacher. And, it takes a lot of love to care for the kids in class.
“Teachers don’t go into teaching for the money. We go into it for the heart,” said Laura Demmon, a 1st-grade teacher at Hailmann in La Porte. “We give our all to our students each and every day. We love your kids.”
For many teachers, giving their all often includes additional time and money. Many teachers use their own personal funds for supplies, decorations, or those additional “fun” things that make a classroom welcoming, warm, and cater to all types of learning styles. This often means that many teachers take on second jobs to make ends meet. Therefore, the supplies you send to the school with your student are a huge help --but they could always use more throughout the year.
“We want to do fun things, and that costs money,” Demmon said. “It’s nice to not have to spend allotted money on tissues or other necessary supplies. I’d rather spend it on those fun things that engage the students.”
For teachers who have been teaching for several years, many of those decorations you see in classrooms need updating. Teaching is an evolving profession with new methods and ideas cropping up all the time. These new ideas and methods often require new supplies and, yes, decorations. While many of the decorations help engage learning, teachers also want their rooms to be comfortable.
“We’re there for eight hours a day, we want to make it nice,” Demmon said.
While money and supplies are a great support, time is another way you can help your local teachers. Help inside the classroom is extremely helpful, but for those parents who work and may not have time to help during the day, asking your child’s teacher if there is any help you can give is a way to show them you care. Often, they have many projects that a parent can take home with them and work on there.
One of the additional ways parents can help their child’s teacher is when a parent advocates for their children. If you think that something isn’t right, or your child is missing something in their education, communicate that with the teacher. Many teachers also want the best for your child and are more than willing to work with you to find a solution. If they can’t help, they probably know people who can.
“We have so many connections, organizations, or professionals to help,” Demmon said.
It’s not just the parents who can support local teachers. Community members can also give of their time and volunteer at their local schools. Many organizations have mentoring programs that allow community members to go to the school and help students, from mentoring and tutoring, to even just eating lunch with a student.
“I love seeing people volunteering,” Demmon said. “It gives the kids a sense of community and helps them build communication and social skills.”
We can all do our part to help our teachers. Whether it’s giving a little of your own time or money, whatever you can do to help will be greatly appreciated and will also be passed along to our kids and future generations.
Contact your local school to find out what volunteer opportunities might be available or what supplies and necessities might be needed this school year. Help be a part of the difference.