I read an article this morning about professional athletes and the way they would like to be paid. It compared the importance of what they do and the amount they make to the importance of what teachers do and the amount they make. I don’t think I need to explain the rest of that article, but it got me thinking. What can I do to encourage people as they are examining their past year and making personal decisions for the coming year to prioritize how we view educators, from Preschool age on up.
Our teachers begin the year with such enthusiasm. Our Preschool staff and Religious School teachers are dedicated to making each day important for the social, intellectual, creative and spiritual development of our students. They desire having everything "just right" to provide a stimulating environment.
You might take notice I said, "begin the year with enthusiasm." Teachers are a dedicated group of people. I don’t know of one person involved in education that chooses it for the money, for the hours (unless it’s to enable them to spend time with their own children), or for the fame and glory. People involved in education are true investors in our future. They need our support to maintain the level of enthusiasm with which they begin.
How can you help? Don’t wait for "Teacher Appreciation Week" or the end of the year to let educators know what a good job they are doing. Listen to them when they talk to you about your child, most educators want what is best for a child and for them to succeed. Communicate appropriately with your child’s teacher. Praise the teacher to your child – or if your child complains about his or her teacher, at least show respect and don’t criticize the teacher in front of your child. Ask your teacher what you can do to help. Even if they have nothing for you to do at that time, they will remember the kindness of being asked. "He who teaches a child is as if he had created it." (Sanhedrin, 19b) Become part of the team, a partner in your child’s education.
If we are all involved in preparing our children for the future, what a wonderful future we have ahead of us. Get involved; show your children that the "Jewish way" is to take action not just talk about the action (although we do a good deal of that, too!)
My family wishes you Shanah Tovah, with much health, happiness and good fortune for the coming year.
Catherine Rosing, Director of Education