Ways Parents Can Help Teachers Improve Their Mental Health
Teachers have tough jobs full of lots of stress. Here are some ways parents can help teachers improve their mental health. Better teacher mental health = better education for the students!
With teacher appreciation week coming up, this feels vitally relevant. And with everything in the news – all the teacher strikes – this feels even more vitally important.
Note: this is not a place to debate whether teachers deserve their salaries or whether their workload is overwhelming. If you don’t believe in those things – you’re in the wrong place. If you do believe that, here’s how you can help!
Parents – listen up:
Teachers are overwhelmed, overworked, saddled with too many expectations. And for many of them, their mental health is suffering. I was there too, when I was a teacher.
Even if your kids’ teachers are not suffering poor mental health, they are stressed out, tired and overwhelmed.
So what can you do – this school year and the next – to help these teachers out?
Teachers need relief. They need things taken off their plate, lifted off their shoulders.
Here are some ways parents can help teacher improve their mental health:
If you can make the time – even if it’s a one time thing – volunteer. That could be helping the classroom – reading with kids, helping kids make up work, helping with a project, etc. Or it could be volunteering to cut out shapes or laminated papers at home in the evening to help with upcoming projects. It could be volunteering to come in and be a mystery reader – where the students know someone is coming in but don’t know who. While you’re reading a story to the whole class, your child’s teacher can have 15 minutes to get something else done.
Know what is going on in your community, state, and country. Value your teachers and support them. Vote for bills that support them and the students, that reduce teacher workload, and that allow for smaller teacher-student ratios.
Do Your Part in Your Child’s Education.
Make sure your child does their homework (within reason – I understand teaching responsibility). Make sure you sign and return any papers that need your signature quickly. Every time a teacher has to hunt down homework or signed forms, that’s more time that they could be actually teaching or planning lessons. And if they have time to actually plan lessons instead of doing the other stuff, they might have a little more downtime at home that night or on the weekend.
Don’t overwhelm your child’s teacher with emails, notes and phone calls all the time. Teachers spend so much time responding to all of those – once again, taking away from what they really need to be doing.
Send an Encouraging Note or Thank You Note.
This isn’t going to take a load off a teacher’s shoulders, but teaching is often a pretty thankless job. When a parent or student wrote me an encouraging note or a heartfelt thank you, it made me feel like I wasn’t completely drowning in everything I had to do. I felt like I was still making a difference and my job was worthwhile. I held onto every one of those thank you/encouragement notes, and I still have them. That means a lot.
Set Your Child Up For Success in the Morning.
Make sure backpacks are packed the night before, to help prevent stressful mornings. If your child eats breakfast at home, make sure it’s healthy and nutritious and keeps them full and ready to learn. Here are some make-ahead breakfast ideas for busy mornings!
Respect Your Child’s Teacher
Respect their routines and procedures at school and for homework. Understand, believe and support that they are doing the best they can with the resources they have to make sure your child is learning and successful. (*Obviously, if something is glaringly to the contrary – approach it, but generally, teachers are genuinely trying to do their best with what they’ve got).
Gift Teachers with Self-Care Options.
I will admit – I loved to get school supplies and things to use in my classroom from parents and students, because it meant a few less things I had to buy with my own money.
But, I think many teachers also need to be gifted some self-care options. They may not take the time on their own, but if they are given a gift, that will probably change their mind. Get to know the teacher (or ask co-workers), but here are some suggestions:
- a massage gift card
- coffee/coffee gift card
- nail polish/manicure gift card
- take charge, contact parents and set up a list of parents willing to volunteer in the next month.
- restaurant gift card
- a freezer meal they can save for later
These are just a few ways parents can help support your child’s teacher, ease her workload, and in turn protect her mental health. The better her mental health, the better she’ll be able to help your child be successful. So while it may feel like it’s focusing on your child’s teacher, you’re really helping out your child in the long run!
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Thank you for this! I have always had so much respect for them..even as a kid and teen. But I never really knew how to show them how much I care. Being a parent is stressful but I have been put in a place where I have to take care of another persons child…that is more stressful..I can’t imagine a classroom size. I love the idea of offering to do something from home for them since I have a child at home and can’t go to the classroom to volunteer.
What an awesome topic! I love this
Kale @ steakandkale.com
“Every time a teacher has to hunt down homework or signed forms, that’s more time that they could be actually teaching or planning lessons.” Yes! Thanks for sharing!! 🙂
Kayla | Mommy Blogger | My Motherhood Made Easy
This is definitely important and crucial in today’s society! We need to support the teachers. They are the ones teaching and caring for our kids when they are in school. I am for sure planning on being super involved at my daughter’s school when she begins.
Kayla | Mommy Blogger | My Motherhood Made Easy
I love this! I’m sure any teacher reading it would be so blessed.