A Teachable Moment: May 2013 Teacher Appreciation Week
Dr. Susan Bartell
The end of the school year is clearly in sight, and summer is just around the corner. I can’t wait! But…before we pack away the marble notebooks and markers, and before the beach replaces the classroom for a couple of months, it’s time to thank our teachers for the committed effort they have made throughout this school year. They not only educate our kids, they also play an important role in supporting the emotional and social growth of each child they teach. The perfect opportunity to show gratitude to your child’s teacher is during Teacher Appreciation Week which, this year, is the week of May 6, 2013.
The truth is that Teacher Appreciation Week is not just a time for parents to thank teachers but also an opportunity to teach your child to be appreciative. The typical child will rarely, if ever, think about the importance of having a caring and enthusiastic teacher (unless he experiences a less than stellar teacher). It is, therefore, your job to help your child learn to show gratitude to her teachers. Developing the ability to value others and also to have empathy, are important skills that don’t necessarily come naturally to children—they need to be taught—and this is a perfect opportunity. Furthermore, when your child learns to appreciate good teachers, it also helps her begin to value education as important part of her life. You will be grateful for this appreciation when your child gets to high school!
So, how do you nurture your child’s appreciation for his teachers? The following ideas should jumpstart you:
· Be creative. Help your child create a handmade gift for her teacher. Handmade is better than purchased because it requires thought and effort. Your help can be a little or a lot, depending upon your child’s age and level of motivation.
· Put pen to paper. Suggest that your child write a thank you note to his teacher. Suggest specific ways that to say thanks. For example: “Thank you for helping me learn cursive writing”; Thanks for taking us on that awesome field trip last week”; “I’m so proud that I can do long division now, thanks for teaching me!”
· Spread the love. Don’t stop with the classroom teacher! Your child can say a big thank you to the phys ed., science, computer, music, resource room, and other ‘special’ teachers. And, remind her to also thank the teachers that work outside of school–the sports coach, piano teacher, tutor and gymnastics instructor.
· Be a role model. Your child will be much more likely to show appreciation for his teachers when he sees you doing so first. A simple acknowledgement of recognition is all that is really needed. Everyone needs to know they are appreciated. Teachers, who play a critical role in your child’s growth and development, deserve it more than anyone.
Dr. Susan Bartell is America’s #1 Family Psychologist. Her latest parenting book is The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask. You can learn more about her at www.drsusanbartell.com.