Happy World Teachers’ Day!
October 5th is all about celebrating all the wonderful educators around the world. At the same time, this day is also about supporting teachers so that every learner can have access to quality education.
It’s no secret that teaching is already a stressful profession and the pandemic hasn’t made their jobs any easier. In fact, more than three in four teachers say that job-related stress has taken its toll on them during the 2020-2021 school year. This number is even more alarming considering that only 40 percent of average working adults report similar issues.
There are still many challenges and uncertainties that make it difficult to navigate school during the pandemic. That’s why we should appreciate teachers’ work more than ever before. As with any caring profession, they need more care themselves than the average employee, even if they often choose to put students first.
Teacher wellbeing and work-life balance are essential to a sustainable education system. With many teachers contemplating leaving the profession, this is the time to act.
This World Teachers’ Day, let’s do something different and celebrate teachers not just through words but actions. Not just today, but for the entire school year!
Ideas for World Teachers’ Day
To this end, parents, caregivers, and guardians can contribute significantly. However, it’s not necessary to have a student in class to show that you care. Here are some ideas for anyone interested in helping teachers out:
“What do you need?”
This is a simple question that teachers appreciate more than you think. Instead of assuming that teachers need this or that, make sure to understand what they need for their students, classrooms, or even what they need to make improvements in their personal lives.
Sometimes it’s enough to lend an ear to their problems since they’re the ones doing the listening most often, whether they’re counseling students, helping out other educators, or giving advice to parents.
Helping with classroom supplies
An astounding number of teachers spend their own money on school supplies. Did you know that according to a United States Department of Education survey, 94% of public school educators buy supplies with their own money?
This is undoubtedly a global trend — and a major problem. And while the entire system needs to change, you can still help a teacher out. For example, do this directly by donating supplies, funding a GoFundMe page set by a teacher, or by pitching in their Amazon (or any other company) wish list.
Otherwise, gift cards are also great ways to help if a teacher prefers certain stores.
Read more: How to redesign your classroom on a budget
Donating tech teaching equipment
Since we’re not out of the woods yet and face a lot of uncertainty, a lack of tech resources can still be a major stressor for teachers.
Additionally, teachers and students are more comfortable with edtech as a result of remote teaching, and many activities such as homework can be easily done online. Not to mention that in some areas, online and hybrid are still the preferred modes of instruction, at least for now.
That’s why neglecting this area can lead to a bigger digital divide among students. That being said, teachers might still lack the necessary equipment to effectively teach online, from laptops to microphones.
You can donate devices that are still good but you don’t need anymore or finding a way to help students access the internet in school or at home.
Offer to help with technology
Some school IT departments are woefully understaffed. Other schools might simply lack the expertise of a full-time team dedicated to improving teaching with the help of technology.
That’s why teachers might need support with cybersecurity issues, including reliable antivirus software or advice to make their virtual classrooms more secure. Additional help might come in the form of setting up devices for students to use safely.
If you have the expertise, you can also volunteer to be a part of their professional development (PD) program to teach educators how to use technology or make the most of what they have.
Be a volunteer
If you’re a parent, you can be involved in many activities, including classroom help, a school lunch monitor, clubs, the library, etc.
Indeed, schools also function as a vital part of the community, helping struggling students with lunches. Even a small donation or help with distributing food might help more than you think. Volunteering can also take the form of mentoring activities for at-risk students since teachers often don’t have the resources to help out or do this themselves.
There is also an opportunity to help monitor health activities; for example, a medical professional can talk to students about the importance of hygiene, especially during these times.
Work experience help
In many cases, the curriculum relies heavily on theoretical knowledge, and teachers often struggle to help students see the real-world application of what they learn. In fact, even vocational teachers might need help to organize Career day types of activities from time to time.
Your help can look like mentoring a student who wants to follow a career path, an essential and life-changing activity. Additionally, you might help organize visits to businesses and labs to show students different workplaces.
What’s so special about these activities is that they can even be done through Zoom if current health measures don’t allow you to meet in person. You can still talk about what you do and inspire students to further their education.
Get involved in diverse activities
Teachers are always looking for ways to make their lessons more interactive and engaging, online or not. English teachers might be looking for authors to talk about their books and writing in general. Art teachers want to connect students with local artists, and STEM teachers would love to have programmers or engineers talk about specific subjects.
Maybe one of those roles describes you perfectly! Alternatively, perhaps you know someone and you can put them in touch with the teacher or school. Other activities that teachers might want to organize but lack time are fun classes such as cooking activities after school or field trips to museums.
Offer consistent help
In moments of crisis, people tend to organize and offer support. However, after the dust has settled and we return to normal, we tend to forget about these important issues. Consistent help is often better, especially since teachers were stressed and prone to burnout long before the pandemic.
Parents, volunteers, and donors can show up all year round for support since supplies run out, devices break, and other activities are usually hard to plan and organize.
Being there for teachers
For World Teachers’ Day, make sure to show your appreciation, even if it’s by sending a thank you email to a teacher.
Volunteering to help set up new devices for students, donating school supplies, or giving even a small part of your time can make a world of difference when it comes to showing teachers just how much they matter and how much the students, community, and actually, the entire world needs them!
Ioana believes that education in action is the only way to change the world. When she is not writing about learning and ed tech, she can usually be seen reading a book and drinking lots of coffee.