Author’s Note: This post first appeared on the Christian Children’s Authors blog. But since it’s still the end of the school year for many, I thought it appropriate to repost it for our readers here, too.
Here we are at the end of another school year. I have several friends who are teachers and when I recently asked them how they are, I got these responses. “I’m so stressed out.” I’m exhausted.” “I can’t wait for the school year to end.” These are good teachers who love their jobs and their students. But the demands placed on them at the end of the school year are heavy.
Teachers work hard every day. They have to be “on” for their students whether they feel inspired or not. They have lives outside of the classroom, yet their students often slip into their dreams and after school thoughts. Their work often takes over their evenings as they grade papers, attend special meetings, concerts, or make lesson plans.
How can you show appreciation to your child’s teacher in a way that’s meaningful? Gift cards are nice and handmade gifts are sweet, but really, they can only use so many of them.
One teacher told me that the mother of one of her students wrote her a letter expressing her thanks. “Linda, it was a full page, handwritten letter saying how her daughter had grown while in my class and that she was so thankful she’d been in our school.”
Her voice held a quality of disbelief. That simple gift struck a deep chord within her. It was personal. It validated her work. There was nothing cutesy about it. She certainly didn’t get a duplicate gift from another parent.
So this year, consider giving your child’s teacher a gift that expresses your genuine appreciation for all his or her hard work. Be specific. Here are a few questions to help you get started.
- What positive changes have you seen in your child this year?
- Did your child grasp a difficult subject better than ever due to this teacher?
- Did your child gain self confidence in this teacher’s classroom?
- Did he feel accepted or part of a team?
- Did your child gain a love of learning?
- Did this teacher partner with you to help your child?
- Was the teacher a good communicator of both positive and negative reports?
- Did he make learning fun?
- Did she spark new interests in your child?
- Did he show kindness, compassion, creativity, respect, to students?
There are so many ways to validate teachers. Hopefully, the questions above will help you pinpoint your child’s teacher’s strengths. Remember no teacher (or parent) is perfect. We’re all flawed. This isn’t about that. It’s a chance to build up and encourage the good things you see in another person.
And you can bet that next year, when that teacher faces a roomful of new children, she’ll remember the positive things you affirmed in her and repeat them with these students. You will have made a difference in her life, and that’s worth more than any gift card you could give.
How have you showed teachers appreciation? Share your ideas in the comments below.