Back to school time is here! There are so many different emotions surrounding back to school time. You might be counting down the days, or you might be wishing you had one more month of summer break. I’ll be honest—I’m ready for the routine that the school year brings, but knowing that I only have three more summers with my oldest makes me want to stop time forever. No matter how you feel about it, the upcoming school year will, in fact, start soon.
I remember when my 15-year-old son started kindergarten all those years ago. We did his backpack and lunch box shopping and bought him a new first day of school outfit. We did all we could to prepare him for this new adventure. Then I sat down one day and did the math. I discovered that my baby would spend seven of his waking hours each day with a stranger (a.k.a. his new teacher) and only five with his family. This realization just about did this new kindergarten mom in.
My husband and I very honestly discussed homeschooling or anything else that would keep our son home with us for longer. But once we decided that our family was going to be a public school family, I knew what I needed to do—I would be a cheerleader for and partner to my kids’ teachers.
The first thing I did was write my son’s kindergarten teacher a note to introduce myself and our family to her. I wanted to portray two specific things in this note: we were on the same team and we were praying for her. I realized early on that every teacher my kids would ever have would need to know that we were teammates. If you care for my kid for that many hours in the day, then we are automatically on the same team!
I also told that teacher that our family would be praying for her. Teachers have an extremely hard job that is often full of discouragement and frustration. We have told every one of our kids’ teachers that we are praying for them, and we mean that with everything in us. Again, if you care for my kid for that many hours in one day, I’m praying for you!
Another thing that I have done is to bless my kids’ teachers with gifts throughout the year—and I’m not talking about mugs that say “#1 Teacher” on them! I’m talking about gift cards to coffee shops or local restaurants—something to really bless them. I even invite our kids’ teachers over for dinner in our home. And when my kids were younger, I’d occasionally email teachers in the morning to get their coffee drink orders and drop treats off for them. Again, if you care for my kid for that many hours in the day, I know all too well that you might need a coffee pick-me-up around lunchtime!
Last, but certainly not least, I volunteered my time to my kids’ teachers. When I was a stay-at-home mom and my main focus during the day was on my kids, I had the ability to go read to the class during the read-aloud time. I was able to bring lunch to the PTA luncheons for the teachers. I could bring home things to cut out for the teachers. Nowadays, I’m more likely to be running the scoreboard at a middle school football game than cutting out letters for a bulletin board, but nonetheless, I’m trying to use my time when I can to help out the teachers.
Hopefully, as we look toward the start of a new school year, we can view the teachers who spend so much time with our kids as an extension of our homes. I want us to think about how we can bless teachers—throughout the year—as they pour their talents and time into our kids. Tell your kids’ teachers that you are praying for them. Tell them that you are on their team, bring them gifts, invite them into your home, and spend time getting to know them. We love our kids’ teachers not to get anything from them in return, but because of how much we have been loved by God. John 15:12 says this: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” School will be much more enjoyable for everyone when you reach out to bless all of your kids’ teachers because you get the opportunity to show these teachers how Jesus loves you so well!
Want to read more from Jamie Ivey? Check out some of her other LifeWay Voices post.