Parents are often a teacher’s toughest ‘customers.’ Hardest to please, least likely to show it when they are. It’s easy for that important relationship to get strained and adversarial. Your child’s teacher does so much for your family, and they deserve to know that you appreciate it. There are so many little ways to let them know.
- Ask them about their day. A light question about what a teacher’s most proud of in their class can bring a light into their eyes. Just be ready to listen for a good long while. You don’t know what might come pouring out.
- If you can volunteer with the school, arrange to cover a lunch period or recess for them, and give them some time to have a peaceful break, even if it’s a working one.
- Don’t compare them to other teachers. Even if it’s positive, they’ll wind up wondering which side of the comparison they’ll fall on when you talk to their student’s teacher next year. Or the one you’re comparing them to might be a friend.
- Birthday presents, especially if they’re the type of teacher who encourages all their students to make a little something of their own birthdays. Doesn’t have to be big. A gift card for a single fancy coffee is a lovely thing to receive.
- If your child brings home a nice story about something their teacher did, or something fun or enlightening that happened in classwork, let the teacher know. They don’t get to see enough of their impact outside the classroom. An email or a note on the matter would give them something to tuck away and keep.
- Ask if there is something the classroom needs. Teachers spend a lot of their own money supplementing what the school supplies. Anything you or a group of parents together can cover is a big help to them.
- Send them a graduation invite, if your child is okay with it. This last one might be a very delayed way to show how important a particular teacher was, but these milestones mark an achievement for every teacher your child has had, too.
Teaching is a hard job, with long hours, ever-moving goalposts, and few workplace rewards. The little sweet kinds of feedback from students and parents could make the difference between a teacher who burns out and one who continues to be a source of enlightenment for generations.