Centuries ago, I presume, a tradition developed whereby parents felt compelled to provide a tangible expression of their gratitude toward teachers. The original motivations for this tradition are unclear. Some may have been prompted by genuine appreciation; others may have been spurred by guilt and attempts to atone for the unruly classroom conduct of their children; some may have darker motivations where it was hoped a small payoff would “grease the wheels” a bit toward a better grade for their child.
While I’m sure that most educators truly appreciate the gesture, I’m not sure how many apples an average person can eat. I wonder how many of those cute little picture frames, paper weights, plaques, and other cute thingies eventually get regifted.
Of course, all of us dedicated educators want to be appreciated for our hard work, long hours, and willingness to be exposed to every germ known to humankind. It’s nice to be appreciated for the fact that we choose to love kids even when they behave badly and produce noxious fumes. It’s great to be appreciated for the fact that we take classrooms full of kids with different needs, abilities, behaviors, and troubles and turn them into high-powered learning teams.
Great teachers are amazing!
The best gift we can give them involves our own parenting. The most wonderful display of our appreciation is to send them students truly ready to be respectful, responsible, and eager to learn. No doubt this gift also benefits our children, who will rise to the top when equipped with such character attributes.
Listed below are just a few things you can do:
• Make sure that your kids overhear you saying positive things about their school and their teachers.
• Ensure that they are doing chores without reminders at home, so that they know how to do assignments without reminders at school.
• Allow very little time with technology, including video games, texting, surfing the web, watching videos, television, etc. These activities make it more difficult for our children to remain calm and content at school.
• Have family meals together, where you enjoy each other and talk about all of the things you’ve learned during the day.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for raising great kids who have what it takes to benefit from the privilege of schooling!
Dr. Charles Fay