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What's Working in Alabama - Support for Teachers

Kathryn Young Thompson

My background in education pushes me to insist that our children get the best education possible.  One way that we are making this improvement is by working to build teacher morale.  Good teacher morale is the result of a positive environment for our professionals.  One way we’ve managed to help keep the spirits high for our teachers and in turn see that our students receive a fresh, smiley adult in their classroom each day is to indulge them just a little.  Goody bags at the beginning and end of the school year for the teachers and a needy student along with Christmas gifts, Easter baskets and more are all part of a keeping our teachers fresh.  A quick look over any parenting or education sites will render mounds of research on how to keep the good teachers in the classrooms.  Unfortunately many of the teachers that leave the profession do so simply due to frustration and burn out. 

That brings the million dollar question, how do we keep these teachers fresh and ready to teach?  Currently the teachers in this area rewarded with programs offered through OfficeMax’s Erase Teacher Funded Classrooms program in coalition with Adopt-a-Classroom and Donors Choose.  In the last 3 months alone, Donors Choose with the help of teachers and parents alike has funneled over $10,000 worth of equipment into much needed classrooms.  As for the personal growth of our educators, I try to see that the teachers get a little extra punch of something nice based on their needs in the classroom as well as their own personal needs.  A pampered teacher is a better person and I believe whole-heartedly that teachers who feel needed and loved make the best educators in the long haul.

Ultimately, any time there is an occasion to celebrate with the students, we try to see that once the children are taken care of, the teachers receive a little something special as well.  Working with various companies to provide school supplies or even just a simple Easter Basket filled with chocolate, have made a wonderful addition to our schools.  But, we can’t stop there; we must push on and leave the teachers feeling good about their work, about the challenges that face them.  Most of all, society as whole, people who are happy and feeling good about the work they do are in turn simply better at the work they do.  Teachers have long since been neglected.  Don’t get me wrong, the children do come first…most of the time.  However, it never hurts to say a “Thank You” and “We appreciate what you do” and I can assure very few teachers hear that on a regular basis. 

Making students and teachers happy increases the opportunities our children have and thus the kind of care we as a society ultimately are rewarded with in the future.

Jerri Ann Reason is the 2011 Mom Congress delegate from Alabama.  A self-proclaimed internet-junkie, she has been writing online since 1999. She has 2 boys, ages 6 and 8, and is married to a man she affectionately calls Boy Genius on her personal blog, Mom~E~Centric.   Jerri Ann has a B.S. in Education and an M.A in Counseling.