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10 Ways to Support Your Classroom Teacher This Year

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It’s August, which means back to school, which means saying goodbye to summer, which means shelling out the moola.

Is it the smell of new school supplies? or the sound of money skittering out of my checking account faster than cockroaches when the lights go on that reminds me of Back to School time more?

It’s the time of year when you pay school fees, buy supplies, supplement hot lunch accounts and so much more. I’ve never been a big fan of back to school season, but now that I also have to pay for it, I detest it.

If the money flying out of my bank account isn’t bad enough, I have to face the fact that my children are indeed a year older. Another school year behind us, a new grade ahead of us. The time goes by at lightning speed.

I discovered a way to harness my melancholy and focus my energy into a better mindset, rather than just sulking. And I’m using my renewed and rejuvenated motivation to support my children’s education before I head towards burn out all the way out in late October.

Sure the money is flying away, yes things are tight, but things are even tighter in the education world. Teachers are setting up their classrooms, funding supplies and materials that aren’t always covered by the school system. Teachers spend thousands of dollars out of their pockets each year to fund their classroom and educate our children.

Don’t get lost in the madness of back to school shopping, paying fees and kissing the summer fun goodbye. Turn your energy to helping and supporting your new classroom teacher.

I’m always so focused on getting my kids prepped and ready to go, that I don’t stop and think about what the teacher is going through to prep their classroom and fatten up those lesson plans. Here are a few ways; some cost your time, others subtract from your bank account, to get your head out of the back to school stress and set up the person who will be a big part of your child’s life for the next nine months or so…

1. Back to school shopping takes a serious toll on your wallet. I never look forward to making all the subtractions in my checking account. However, your school needs funds to operate for the next year. Pay the registration fees. This is where materials, like science books and lab materials, Scholastic News and other classroom supplies are purchased from. If you don’t pay the registration fees, the school will still cover the cost for your child, but will need to borrow from other funds. If you can cover the fees, pay them.

2. While back to school shopping, add a few extra items for the teacher. Some schools give suggestions or donation ideas…choose a few and add them. They don’t have to be expensive items…this time of year you can get glue or crayons for 25 cents. Every little thing helps. Even an extra box of tissues or bottle of hand sanitizer. Wouldn’t you rather your child is using a tissue with sanitized hands come next April or May vs their sleeve?

3. If you don’t know what your teacher may need, grab a $10 gift card to Target or Office Depot on your way out. You’d be amazed at how far a teacher can stretch $10.

4. Give the school a few packages of copy paper. Copies aren’t free. Paper is a huge help to teachers’ classroom budgets.

5. Look through your child’s book case and donate books that they no longer read to last year’s classroom teacher. Teachers are always looking for new books to add to their libraries.

6. Sign up to be the room mom. This is a huge relief to teachers who must resort to begging their parent group or doing it themselves when no one steps up.

7. Get in the classroom. Offer to file papers, arrange bulletin boards, help with reading or math time. Step up in the classroom and assist the teacher where they need help.

8. Get involved in PTA. Attend meetings, be involved in what is happening in the school and classrooms. Teachers appreciate the parents who are visible not only in their classrooms, but around the school. Supporting the entire school helps each teacher.

9. Give the teacher a bag of their favorite coffee beans, Via’s, tea, or favorite drink packet at the beginning of each month. Or grab a box of healthy granola bars or other snack that the teacher enjoys. This may look like sucking up, but it will put a huge smile on your teacher’s face and keep them going during every school day. (If you spend any time in the classroom, you will quickly learn how much energy and mental agility it takes to keep a class going all day.) It’s not really sucking up to just make a teacher feel valued and supported all year.

10. For those of you who have larger checking accounts or are good at organizing classroom donations or fundraising, set up a fund for parents to donate to help keep the teacher’s learning up to date. A spare change jar in the classroom can also help. Teachers must take classes every year to keep up their certification. Many spend thousands each year just to have the priviledge of teaching our children. Help them earn those education hours without having to spend everything out of pocket.
11. (An EASY Bonus Suggestion) Shop at Safeway until September 11th and purchase items marked with a school bus tag on your Club card. Safeway will give 10% back to the school of your choice. Or visit the Target Facebook page and vote for your favorite school. For every 25 votes a school receives, Target will give that school $25. All you have to do is vote every few days.

 

These are my suggestions. What other suggestions do you have  or do you do to help out the classroom teacher?

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Comments
  • comment avatar Amber Johnson August 15, 2012

    I’m dividing my time between two schools this year and my daughter’s school is particularly demanding on parent volunteer hours. I really like your suggestions–from the simple, easy things to more involved.

    • comment avatar Susan Wells August 15, 2012

      Two schools makes it rough Amber. Teachers really appreciate the small things. It doesn’t matter what it is you do to help, as long as you do something.

  • comment avatar Lori Lavender Luz August 15, 2012

    I’m getting some extra coffee and Target cards the next tie I’m in the stores. And I’m sending extra copy paper and tissues.

    My kids’ teachers may never know they have YOU to thank.

    • comment avatar Susan Wells August 15, 2012

      That’s great Lori! Your kids’ teachers will have YOU to thank. I simply planted a seed.

  • comment avatar kagey August 15, 2012

    As a PTO officer, I want to cheer your #8. If parents only realized how much just a little time would help the school, they would be amazed. Sure, we raise money, and that money is often vital to the school’s academic functions these days, but the heart of the PTO is often in making the kids realize a whole community cares about them.
    The ice cream social doesn’t happen without parents willing to scoop ice cream for a half an hour. The Carnival can’t “go” without parents running the games. And just maybe you will have the great idea that helps earn money, save money, or makes that event a special day for the kids.

    • comment avatar Susan Wells August 15, 2012

      You are so right! PTA/PTO takes parent volunteers to be successful. The P stands for Parent afterall.

  • comment avatar jenny - sugar loco August 16, 2012

    Great ideas Susan! Thanks for helping me to put it into perspective. I think we get so overwhelmed by the lists and the fees that we forget about the teachers needs too.

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