5 positive tips: Show teachers they have your support this school year

(BPT) – Teaching has always been a challenging job, but this year our nation’s teachers are working harder than ever to ensure student success — online, offline and in combinations thereof.

In addition to their usual tasks, educators are having to quickly learn unfamiliar technologies. They’re reinventing lesson plans and figuring out new ways to convey information. They’re inundated with communications and requests from principals, parents and students.

One survey earlier this year found educators are also being tasked with helping to preserve their students’ social and emotional well-being during this time of massive change.

Even in these challenging circumstances, however, teachers across the U.S. have been stepping up to find ways to keep their classes engaged and moving forward. And they deserve our thanks for doing everything they can to keep our kids on track.

Cereal and snack giant Kellogg’s recently led the way in thanking teachers by gifting them one million Nutri-Grain bars to share with their students. The “Got Your Back” program invited K-12 teachers across the nation to claim the tasty treats while entering to win one of four $300 gift cards to cover the costs of additional snacks and supplies.

Looking for more ways to show your children’s teachers how much you appreciate all their efforts? Here are positive, proactive steps you might take to let them know they have your full support.

Send notes of encouragement. We all need to feel appreciated, and one kind word can often turn around someone’s day. Rather than blaming your child’s teacher for what may seem to be awkward and inconvenient new processes, put forth some positive energy by sending them brief notes supporting their plans and offering assistance as needed. Let them know you think of your child’s education as a team effort, not a test of their competency.

Buy snacks and supplies. It’s no secret that many teachers routinely reach into their own pockets to buy goodies and/or school supplies for their classes. One survey found, in fact, that 60% of teachers spend an average $300 each year on student snacks. That’s a sure sign most would welcome parent, business or community donations of commonly used tools, materials and/or cleaning products that could help stock their classrooms. Another positive idea? Contributing healthy and tasty snacks that can ward off hunger and keep kids focused on learning. Baked with real fruit and 8 grams of whole grains, individually wrapped Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain bars are an excellent choice for helping students power through their school days. Next time you’re wrapping up an online order or shopping in your grocer’s snack aisle, consider adding on the boxes of supplies or snacks that could make a real difference to your children’s teachers.

Take responsibility for your child. If your child is involved with online or hybrid learning, you’ll likely have to take a more active role than in the past to ensure they’re ready and able to participate. Step up to keep them motivated, on time, on-task, prepared for upcoming learning sessions/projects and aligned with the teachers’ expectations. You may need to go the extra mile to keep your computer technology up to date and ensure your home environment is conducive to learning.

Start an appreciation campaign. You may wish to organize efforts in your school community to let your educators know how much they’re valued. Possibilities might include thank-you ads in newspapers, in school bulletins or on billboards; social media campaigns; or yard signs naming teachers as heroes.

Spread awareness of donation options. As the nation becomes more aware of our educators’ many challenges, organizations are springing up that allow the educators to describe their specific needs and request donations accordingly. Many such organizations make it easy for you to get online, choose a request that speaks to you and direct money or supplies to the educator in question — all at the click of a button. You may wish to donate yourself and/or make other parents aware of these easy and convenient options for giving back to your community.

Today’s teachers deserve our thanks and respect for continually adapting to changing educational needs and keeping our children’s best interests at heart. Take time today for proactive, positive actions that support their educational missions.