Today is World Teacher’s Day!  This day was created in 1994 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and is devoted to making time to address issues pertaining to teachers.

Teachers in some countries face problems that, us, as Americans, can’t fathom.  But the United States has shown deep ambivalence toward the profession – we value teachers’ work, but sometimes don’t give them their due in salary or respect.  So, while you may not be able to affect global change in one day, there are things you can do on October 5 (or every day) to help support teachers:

  • Celebrate the profession – Talk to your kids about how hard their teachers work, and how they deserve respect, no matter how much they disagree with them. Find books that portray teachers in a positive light, and read them together.  Dear Mr. Henshaw, Teachers Rock!, and Thank You, Mr. Falker immediately come to mind.
  • Show your appreciation – Send a note, write an email, have your kids draw a picture, give a flower, give a coffee, give a soda, give a cookie…the list goes on and on. Speaking from experience, it is the little things that make my day.  It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture.  The pictures my students make for me are displayed front and center in my room.  And when a parent says I’m doing a good job, it’s music to my ears.
  • Have a conversation with a teacher – To be fair, many people may not know what issues teachers face. Ask them.  Odds are, their positives will outweigh the negatives.  We aren’t in this job for the money, but we do like to be heard.
  • Ask how you can help – I love when a parent asks what they can do to help me out in the classroom, whether by buying me little supplies, or volunteering their time. Sometimes I send home projects for parents to do – cut out items for a project, file papers, staple papers, whatever.  It is a TREMENDOUS help for me, as it saves me time in the classroom, and allows me to have more time with my family in the evenings.

UNESCO brings awareness to the struggles teachers face.  It is up to countless other people to make change.  You can be part of the change.  Tell a teacher that you appreciate all they do for your child, and they do a lot.  After all, we want to make this world a better place for our kids.  Supporting teachers who work hard to positively influence our youth is a good start.