Ava started going to religious education (to me that’s a fancy way of saying “catechism”) two years ago. I used to sit in her class with her weekly so the next year, I figured, why not make myself useful? I signed up as a helper.
That went well and a few times I was a pinch hitter and filled in when the lead teacher was out of town or couldn’t make it to class. She put together the curriculum and basically we worked directly out of the teacher’s edition.
Then she left and I decided, sure why not? I can teach. By myself. As a lead. I know. Me and my ideas.
And that’s how Ms. Jess the Kinder catechism teacher was born.
The first week was a hot mess. At least I thought so. This week though, I gotta say it was pretty awesome. I spent a ton of time on Pinterest trying to figure out what I wanted to do that would be fun for the kids and eat some time. A spent bit of time on Saturday cutting and pasting and getting ready for class. This is what I came up with.
I was pretty proud of myself because my kids thought it was awesome. Hearing them say it was cool was even better.
It got me thinking though that my wee bit of teaching for an hour on Sunday is nothing compared to what teachers do for our kids all week. The time they put in. The money. People think teaching is the best gig because teachers “work 9 months a year and get to go home at 3:30.” Yeah no.
I remember my mom spending tons of time prepping. I remember her setting up her class (and I remember having to break it down when she moved classes and had to quit teaching). I remember when she was student teaching my dad, brother and I went to her pre-k classroom and decked it out in a Hawaiian theme. Why I remember that, I have no clue. I just know that we were there at night and using stuff she had bought to work on the project.
Teachers don’t make big bucks either. But the amount of money they put in is a lot. Ava’s teacher bought a bunch of extra supplies for kids that may not have everything covered. They buy prizes, incentives, decorations, workbooks. You name it, they make sure they have it. The majority of Ava and Allie’s library came from my mom’s classroom.
Anyway, the point of this is: thank your kid’s teacher. Often. Every now and again ask if there’s anything they need for the classroom and offer to send it in.
Send in a “hey you’re awesome gift” every once in a while–nothing fancy, maybe just a coffee thermos and some Starbucks Via instant packets. Maybe just a bunch of flowers from the grocery store or a pastry for breakfast. It doesn’t have to be expensive, even a note from you or your kid just saying how much you appreciate the work they do.
Volunteer at school if you can. Any time you can donate helps to offset time they could be using for something else, even office staff.
Just know, teaching is far from a 9-3 job.