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This post has been sponsored by Our Schools Now in partnership with Forward Influence. All opinions are my own.
Each year, I am always amazed by what my sons’ teachers are able to accomplish. Once the school year is underway and the first Parent Teacher Conferences have come and gone, I sit back and wonder how I can show my appreciation to them for all the work that they do. Here are some ideas you can do that, including one very important way you can show support to them this November by voting “yes” for the Our Schools Now initiative.
Our Schools Now Directly Helps Utah Schools
This year, especially, I have felt the need to do something to help them. Maybe part of that has to do with the fact that I have worked in a school as a paraeducator for the past year (a teacher’s aid in special education). And now, I have officially been hired at that same school as a special education teacher while I finish my degree.
Until you work closely with a teacher, or become one yourself, it’s difficult to fully comprehend what goes into it. The hours are long and often work is done at home just to stay caught up. Teachers use their own money and resources to purchase items and supplies for their classrooms. And they spend a lot of time thinking about their students and how best to serve them. Every child is different with their own unique needs; can you imagine having 25-30 of them all at the same time?
For this reason, I am fully behind supporting the Our Schools Now initiative, which is on the Utah ballot this November. This initiative proposes an increase on the gas tax by $0.10 per gallon to provide additional funding to Utah’s schools to improve the quality of Utah’s education.
When we stop and think about the things that are most important to us in life, giving our children opportunities and the best future possible should be at the top of our list. Every Utah child deserves a high-quality education. High teacher turnover, large classroom sizes and the lowest per-pupil spending in the nation are hurting students from reaching their potential. Voting to increase classroom investment can improve education in Utah and set them on the road to be able to compete throughout their lives.
Despite the hard work of Utah’s teachers, half of Utah’s students are not proficient in math, science, and reading. In addition, large class sizes and teacher attrition are problems currently facing our state. Teachers in Utah are currently the 5th lowest paid in the nation and the class sizes are the 3rd largest! Because of this, nearly 50% of teachers leave the profession in the first five years.
It is not easy being a teacher and facing these challenges. I know from personal experience the pressures we face daily to try and get our kids caught up, working hard for little pay, and having to pay for a lot of classroom supplies out of pocket.
This initiative helps to solve that. The gas tax amounts to an additional $4 per month for Utah drivers. But guess what it gives to the state’s education in return? Overall, it amounts to 101 million dollars to the classroom with control over the spending being given at the local level. Because each school has different needs, the schools will decide where the funding will be spent that directly impacts their specific needs.
All funding from this initiative will go directly to the classrooms. It cannot be used for building costs, district, or administrative overhead. The breakdown amounts to an additional $150 per student! And voting “yes” on the ballot will only cost Utah drivers about $50 per year or $4 per month.
I was recently asked to participate in some events educating the community about Our Schools Now. Many people in our community are aware of the needs our schools are facing, though many had no idea how bad it had become in our state. Overall, many felt the initiative was something they could do to help our schools right away begin to fulfill their needs.
In addition to voting this November, here are some other ways you can show your appreciation with these unique ideas!
How to Show Your Appreciation
Help Your Teacher Where You Can
First, being willing to help where you can in the classroom is one of the best ways to show support. Every teacher is different with their needs but most need room parents to help with parties, volunteers to help with various group assignments throughout the week, door decorators, and other activities.
I know many teachers that ask for help with grading or putting together supplies at home for parents who are not able to come in during the school day. There is always so much to do in the classroom and teachers can use a lot of helping hands!
Communicate With Your Teacher
Second, communicate with your teacher. If a teacher sends an email, read it. If they send home papers in your child’s backpack, be sure to understand it. And if you ever have an issue or problem, let them know.
I recently did this with one of our teachers. My son confided in me that he was having some trouble with another boy bullying him. Later that night, I sent an email to his teacher and then followed up by having a conversation with her. She was grateful I let her know the situation and we have been able to find a solution to the problem together. It’s important and necessary to a child’s education for there to be effective communication between home and school.
Be Involved With the School & The Community
Third, be involved and support educational initiatives like “Our Schools Now”! You can also stay involved by participating in PTA or PTO, whichever organization your school has, and offering your time and talents. It really does take a community to raise a child and having a pool of talent to help in the school benefits everyone.
Find A Small Way to Show Your Teacher Gratitude
Finally, it doesn’t take much to show your appreciation. A small note, a bag of supplies, or even a stash of candy can give your teacher the boost they need to get through a rough day. Having support from parents and hearing their appreciation can make all the difference in the world some days.
If you’re looking for a little note or idea, I’ve put together a list for you! Here are some of the best ideas from a teacher’s point of view!
27+ Meaningful Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas & Printables
You’ve Been My Helping Hand Printable and Keychain
You’ve Been Nothing “Bundt” Amazing!
Thanks for “Bee-ing” Such a Great Teacher
You’re Nacho Average Teacher
Thank You Mints for Teachers
An Apple For My Teacher
You’re One Sharp Teacher