Reminder: Teacher Appreciation Week Should Be a Week of Action
And it should be year-round.
We talk all the time about how hard teachers have it. It’s why Teacher Appreciation Day is immediately followed by Teacher Appreciation Week.
The reality is that teachers are still under-supported to the point that many are leaving the profession in droves. This is due to a variety of factors, including but not limited to low pay (which is especially egregious when compared to other professions and what teachers are paid in other countries), lack of pay increases to compensate for rising inflation, increased criticism of them and their work, and classrooms feeling unsafe—among many other unfortunate reasons.
These may feel like things we cannot help with, but there are many ways people can get involved with their local schools.
Here are some of the best ways to support teachers year-round.
Get involved in your community
Getting involved in your community doesn’t just mean attending school events or donating to bake sales. What I mean is getting involved in local government, whether that’s volunteering for campaigns or running yourself for school board positions when needed.
Teachers need allies in administration and government. Unfortunately, a rising trend in conservative circles paints teachers as public enemy number one.
Whether you’re a parent or not, you can attend public forums about education reform and make it clear that you support teachers and that you believe they are often some of the best advocates for children’s health, safety, and general well-being.
This should obviously extend to getting involved with state and federal government, but oftentimes, local government can have the most immediate effect on supporting teachers.
Support teachers’ unions and strikes
Unions and striking are vital to ensuring workers are paid for their labor, and teachers are no exception to this rule.
When teachers go on strike, you can show support by picketing and protesting with teachers, buying them pizza, organizing carpools—do whatever your personal time and resources allow you to do.
Reach out to the teachers in your life
Teaching can take a massive toll on mental health, and offering to be a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on can go a long way to helping out the teachers in your life.
This is probably the most well-known method of supporting teachers in the U.S., but still an important one. Teachers often spend hundreds of dollars of their own money on supplies for their classrooms, and very little of it is tax deductible. Donating supplies or giving money to teachers is a direct action you can take to show your support.
Start at home
If you are a parent or are planning to become one, listen to teachers when they have concerns about your kids. Your children learn from watching you, and if you treat educators with respect, then they are more likely to follow your example.
What are some ways that you support teachers? If you are a teacher, how do you want to be supported? Comment below!
(featured image: Dean Terasaki)
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