Today is Teacher Appreciation Day, a time for us to do something we don’t often do—appreciate our teachers. With stagnated salaries and other cuts, teachers need our help more than ever. By taking a few mindful steps, we can help our teachers and the next generation. Remember, we can’t be a great nation if we don’t invest in our future.
School Funding: How Bad Is It?
Answer: pretty bad.
In many states, education cuts have deprived classrooms, leaving students with shoddy school equipment and out-of-date textbooks. But that’s not all. Teacher salaries have stagnated while the cost of living has and continues to increase.
Only one in four Americans believe that teachers are being paid fairly, but that hasn’t changed the minds of many school superintendents, governors, and other political officials. Instead, educators have had to take to the streets in protest, asking for raises and better school funding. There have been teacher strikes in West Virginia and Arizona, teacher walkouts in Oklahoma, and teacher sickouts in Kentucky.
6 Mindful Tips for Helping Our Teachers
According to the National Education Association, teachers work “more than 52 hours a week, including 30 hours on instruction and 22 hours on tasks like preparing lessons and grading papers.” Underpaying and failing to support our teachers will jeopardize our future. It’s time we do something about it. Listed below are a few tips to consider for Teacher Appreciation Day.
Volunteer at Local Schools
Making sure each child gets the attention that they need while monitoring the class as a whole is a difficult task for teachers. That’s where you come in. You can be an extra pair of hands or eyes for the teacher. Consider volunteering for your child’s class field trips or special school programs.
Are your kids older and out of school? See if schools in your area need tutors or helpers for school events. By taking a more active role in our schools we will be taking the pressure off our teachers.
Provide for the Classroom
With school budget cuts, teachers sometimes struggle to get the tools they need for their classroom and resort to buying items themselves. You can help with this! Ask a teacher what they need for the classroom or call the main office and ask what they need for the school. Sometimes they may ask for classroom supplies like extra dry erase markers or notebooks, but they might also need things like hand sanitizer, bookstore gift cards, or ink cartridges. You won’t know until you ask!
Check Out Education Crowdfunding
Sometimes teachers turn to crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe to raise money for everything from field trips to classroom equipment. Teachers might even ask for money to further their education, getting a certification or degree that can help in the classroom. Check out GoFundMe campaigns in your area and see how you can help. Just be sure to do your due diligence before donating.
Offer Teacher Discounts
Are you a business owner? If so, another easy way to help teachers is to offer special teacher discounts on your goods or services. While companies such as Barnes & Noble and the Container Store offer deals on books and classroom supplies, the teacher discount doesn’t have to school related. Banana Republic offers discounts on clothes, Walt Disney World offers special room rates at the Swan and Dolphin Resort, and AT&T offers educator discounts on monthly phone plans.
An educator discount is a great way to help teachers and show your support for the community.
Take Politicians to Task
Having proper funds and resources for teachers and students is a priority and shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Do you know your governor’s stance on education in your state? What about other local politicians? Today’s the day to find out! Send your politicians letters telling them how important this issue is to you. And remember to keep their plans for your schools in mind when you head to the voting booth!
Join the #ThankATeacher Campaign
Taking action your self is great, but getting others to participate is even better. In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, the National Education Association and the National PTA are promoting the #ThankATeacher campaign. Get in on the social media campaign by creating a video or taking a picture of yourself showing your support for teachers. It’s a fun creative way to spread the word.