The Teacher Shortage and How to Help
As a parent, you’ve probably heard about it – the teacher shortage. I’m not here to debate all the reasons why or figure out how to fix the problem. But, I think we can all agree this year we can show our teachers some love to get them through. “How? I work and can’t volunteer!” I know, I heard you, we are all busy. Still, there are ways to help out! Here are simple ideas that will make a difference for your child’s teachers, and none of them involve going into school and volunteering.
Fill out the forms!
This seems like such a silly thing to list, but I cannot tell you how many forms need to be tracked, and signed, and sent home again at the beginning of each school year. And it’s the teachers who need to keep asking for it, and sending it, and often calling the parents for the forms. So help a teacher out and just send back the papers. All of them. As fast as you can. Pretty please and thank you. This also goes for anything else during the year – permission slips, notices, new forms, etc.
Get in touch.
If you have littles you will probably get papers at the beginning of the year asking for information about your child, how to contact you, etc. Having this information can make a big difference when connecting with your child just by knowing a little more about them. This is a simple and easy way to connect with the teacher as well, now they have all your information as well.
For the bigger kids, maybe you don’t get this exactly. But a lot of teachers in older grades will give a class syllabus or some type of information page. Ask your big kids for these! Get the teachers information and then send a quick note with your information and how the teachers can get in touch with you if they ever need anything.
For all grades, it is so nice to hear from parents at the beginning of the year on a happy note. For more on learning to connect with your child’s teacher in a positive way check out this blog from Natalie!
Support at home.
Teachers are super heroes, it’s true. But parents are a child’s biggest support system at home. When teachers send home sight words to practice or review packets for a test – help your child. Reinforcing learning at home helps children to retain and practice lessons from their day. It doesn’t need to be hours a day, but a few minutes of review around dinner can help instill the lessons. For tips on working with children on their homework watch this video from our tutors Ms. Deb and Ms. Courtney.
Another big help at home is reading. Encourage your child to read. Read with them if they are little. Encourage your child to pick a book about a topic they enjoy if they are bigger and can read on their own. Building a love for reading helps your child learn.
Say thank you.
Teachers have a lot of work to get done this year with your child. There are a lot of responsibilities they take on and it seems to grow each year. My ask for parents this year, say thank you to a teacher. A note, an email, a quick thanks when you drop off or pick up your child. It will make a big difference. If your child liked a lesson or topic, tell their teacher. You don’t know how much that will light their teacher’s heart on fire. Try it, I promise you won’t regret it.
Let’s make it a great year!
Whether you can go in and volunteer or not, I challenge you to try these small things to help our teachers this school year. Happy back to school to all our teachers and students out there. And here’s to a great school year!
Tiffany Verhoosel is currently a Computer Science teacher in the Baltimore City School District. Coming from a background of business she joined the Baltimore City Teaching Residency over ten years ago to make the career change into education and has never looked back. Her degree from Johns Hopkins, a Master of Science in Digital Age Learning and Educational Technology, helped propel her from Special Educator to her current teaching position where she teaches Kindergarten to eighth grade students how to code.