Most of us agree that teachers play a very important role in the development of our children and young people and therefore, our communities. However, the appreciation shown in their wages is low compared to other professions. Let’s take an opportunity to show them appreciation for all that they do to encourage, teach, challenge and protect the younger generation. Whether you have children or grandchildren in the schools in your community or not, your life will be affected by the success and encouragement of teachers.
Project Ideas—Be a Book Buddy
Many teachers welcome adults into the classroom to give kids another audience, to listen to them, read to them and encourage reading skills. It also gives the teacher a break from doing it alone. Contact the elementary school so that you can work through any security issues the school has in place.
Many libraries also have a similar reading program and welcome adults who can give time to assist in helping others—adults as well as children—to read.
Encouragement Card Shower
During teacher appreciation week many teachers receive gifts and cards from their current students and their parents. While this is good, cards of encouragement from other community members would be a wonderful way for them to see that their work is appreciated by all in the community. Adopt an elementary, middle and high school close to the corps and obtain a staff roster. Many can be found online on the school’s website. Invite the women to write notes of thanks to the staff and deliver them during appreciation week. If doing individual staff cards is too large a task, do a large card addressed to the staff signed by the corps members. Delivering the cards along with a supply of snacks is sure to be appreciated.
Work together with the corps youth program participants to invite their teachers and parents to a reception right after school. Have the corps leadership and parents share with the teachers how they appreciate the influence they have on the lives of the church’s children. Take a moment to pray for the teachers present as well as the other staff and local schools. This would give the teachers a better understanding of The Salvation Army’s ministry.
Many teachers purchase items for their classrooms at their personal expense. Contact them to discover what supply items they need that are not provided by the school or brought by the children. For example, bulletin board or classroom decorations, snack items, teachers’ lounge needs. Ask the women to donate these items, which can be delivered to the teachers.
As a child with a difficult family life, I remember how much I loved and appreciated my teachers and their involvement and influence on my life. Not all my teachers were encouraging, but enough of them were and I loved going to school because that is where I felt safe and worthy. My favorite teachers were, of course, those who praised my good work and encouraged me to continue to do my best. Even though I may not have realized it at the time, I wouldn’t be what I am today without their love and encouragement.
Merriam–Webster’s dictionary defines the word “encourage” this way: “to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope.” Adults need encouragement and praise as well. As you read through Scripture, you will notice how often God wants us to build others up and appreciate each other. “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing” (1 Thess. 5:11). “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near” (Heb. 10:25).
Many times throughout Scripture the Lord commands us to, “Be strong and have courage,” or “be filled with His Spirit,” which brings victory. He also reminds us that He keeps His promises, and that gives us a hope for eternity. He encourages us because He knows we will face difficult times.
Teachers today need our affirmation. They face many obstacles as they go to work each day. They need to know that members of our church are here to bring them courage as they face the task of instilling knowledge and life skills into our young people. Theirs is a high calling and yet many feel discouraged by less than visible perfect results or by low support from some students, parents or community members. We need to be Christ’s encouragement to them.
We need to share the spirit of Christ and His care and the hope He brings to all situations. If you can read this, do more than thank a teacher. Share some words and actions of encouragement.