Summer is over and soon the kiddos will be heading into a new school year full of excitement and a little dread as they face new challenges, see and make new friends and get back to a real schedule of classes, homework and bedtimes. Summer is always fun, but my girls need structure to function properly and sleeping in til noon after staying up all night giggling with friends sleeping over doesn’t cut it once the new year starts. They also have a hard time realizing that while they are on ‘break’, as a working parent, I am not and I can’t just run out at 11:00 at night for an ice coffee or make a midnight run to the Taco Bell border just so we can do something. Mama needs her sleep! haha
It is a struggle getting the girls back into a routine end of summer, but as much of an adjustment as it is, I can imagine it’s even harder for the teachers. I have heard so many times how easy teachers have it. They get summers off. Their jobs aren’t hard. They get overcompensated. This could not be further from the truth. I’m not a teacher, but I have volunteered as a room mother in plenty of classes over the years and what they do for our children is no small feat. First of all, forget having summers ‘off’ really. There is classroom cleanup from the end of the previous school year and reorganizing for the new year. There is lesson planning and scheduling to take care of, materials to order and process and a classroom that gets a fresh look each year for the new students coming in to inspire and make them excited to learn. I have spent many summers helping teachers get their classrooms ready and it’s a lot of work!
Another thing parents might not realize is that a teacher spends a lot of their own money for their students. All those cute little decorations and signs for their classroom, the ‘treasure box’ full of little toys and candy to pick from as a reward, the pizza party when they reach a reading goal or a first day of school banana split party…all comes out of their own pockets. I never knew this until I started volunteering and it really goes to show you the level of commitment and caring teachers have for their students well-being and success.
One of the things I consistently hear about from my teacher friends is how they would really love to have more time to devote to decorating their classrooms in a theme or create some fun craft projects for the kids to do to keep them interested and engaged. After teaching all day, grading papers, checking homework, lesson planning and, let’s face it, keeping the kids in line is a huge daily accomplishment, there just isn’t enough hours in the day for anything extra.
What can you do?!?? That’s where parents come in. Parents should offer to volunteer some help, if they are available. Not only does it do wonders for that one child that could benefit from a little extra one-on-one time with someone in a subject they are struggling with, but it helps the teacher pass on some of the mundane tasks so they can concentrate on the most important task at hand, our kids. You would be surprised that even going in once a week to help grade papers, make copies, file or run errands for the teachers really does help them out. They appreciate it and welcome the support. Personally, I would offer, once in a while, to bring my daughter’s teachers a coffee or a muffin mid-afternoon to perk them up to finish out the day. It’s just a little way of saying thanks for investing in the well-being and education of my kid because I know you care.
Since volunteering and creating lots of classroom decor and worksheets over the years for my girls’ teachers, I opened a TeachersPayTeachers store to sell my items. I was encouraged to do so by my teacher friends because, like they said, they know exactly what a classroom needs and wants and thought other educators would appreciate the resources as well. A lot of what I make are bulletin board set-ups, custom classroom job charts, worksheets, activity packets…usually for holiday parties featuring word searches, coloring page, mazes, etc…Check it out!
If you are a teacher or have friends who are educators, please let them know about my shop at https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Elderberrygirls. No project too big or small. Thank you for reading and please leave a comment or picture of classroom decor items you’ve made!