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Back to School: How Parents Can Support Teachers

By Karen Bantuveris, Founder & CEO, VolunteerSpot

The lazy days of summer are over, and soon it's time to jump back into the hectic pace of the school year. But as hard as the transition can be for parents and kids, it’s also a big change for teachers. Parents can help start the year off smoothly—and make sure it continues down that path--by helping the teacher and making her feel appreciated.

Start Off the Year With Some “Wow!”

  • Give the teacher a welcome basket with coupons, school supplies and little goodies like granola bars, flavored tea, stickers, mints and chocolate
  • Offer to help with classroom setup (getting bulletin boards decorated and desks in place)
  • Take pictures of the teacher with each child on the first day of school. The kids will love it, and it makes for a wonderful remembrance at the end of the year
  • Set up a parent schedule to supervise at recess or lunch time to give the teacher a break (VolunteerSpot.com makes it easy for parents to help out when it fits their schedule)
  • Start a Meal Circle where parents take turns bringing lunch or a special morning treat to the teacher once a week; if you band together, you’ll only have to do it about 2 times/year
  • Share your strengths! If you’re artistic, offer to make cool signs to jazz up the classroom; if you’re musical, lead songs at the class party; scientific or techy, help with experiments and share computer skills with the class

Continue to Show Your Support

  • Save coupons and gift cards for office supplies throughout the year
  • Volunteer to share a skill or a personal family tradition (heritage, interesting job, hobby, etc.) with the class
  • If you can’t help out at school during the day, offer to take prep work home for the teacher. Help is always needed in getting materials and supplies prepared, especially in the lower grades
  • Ask her what kind of technology will improve the learning experience for your kids and work with your school-parent association to fund it
  • Keep an eye out for discounts and free passes for things the teacher can do with her OWN children, like movie tickets, restaurants, attractions and local performances
  • Each day, most of all, try as best you can to send your kids to school well rested, fed a nutritious breakfast, with assignments complete so they are ready to learn.

Remember that the more you’re involved as a parent, the easier it is for your teacher to concentrate on her oh-so-important job of educating your children. So get excited, get involved and get your school year off to a fabulous start---volunteer!

About the author:
Karen Bantuveris is the founder & CEO of VolunteerSpot (http://www.VolunteerSpot.com/school ), a time and sanity-saving online coordination tool that empowers busy parents, teachers and grassroots community leaders by making it easier get involved.  Frustrated by the ‘little things’ that often prevent parents from participating at school (“reply-all” email overload, disorganized clipboard signup sheets, and constant phone-tag), Karen launched VolunteerSpot in 2009 to simplify the volunteer experience. VolunteerSpot has quickly grown mom-to-mom and group-to-group, boosting turnout with more than a quarter-million users nationwide.  Karen is passionate about increasing parent participation in schools, engaging parents to fund education technology, and using new media tools to inspire social action in the ‘real’ world. Karen lives in Austin, TX with her husband and daughter.

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