Thank you to Great Clips for sponsoring this post; however, all opinions (and love for teachers!) are my own.
Did you know that, on average, teachers spend $1,000 of their own money on supplies for their classroom?
That’s right, chronically underpaid teachers must spend their own money just to make sure their students have the resources they need to learn. Theresa, a former teacher, writes that each year she had to spend “hundreds of dollars, especially to get my classroom set up in the first two years.”
How can we as parents and community members help change this situation?
Back to School: Top Ten Ways to Support Teachers
1. Start a Supplies Drive
It’s as simple as setting up a donation box at your church or community center. Easy to do, and everyone loves to support their teachers! Remember that gift cards also make a great gift.
2. Take Advantage of Sales
This time of year there are great sales on school supplies, so pick up a few extra sets of whatever your child needs. Every bit counts!
3. Do a Community Fundraiser
My local mother’s group does a big fundraiser every year for their Halloween party, and one year the designated charity was a local school. They contacted the teachers and asked for wishlists then had the happy task of delivering personalized supply baskets to each classroom.
4. Get Creative with Teacher Appreciation Gifts
Many parents have the tradition of giving back-to-school or teacher appreciation gifts. Why not donate supplies, a gift that will be appreciated by any teacher! I love these creative School Supply Cakes! And look at these wonderful Teacher School Supply Boxes from Educators’ Spin On It!
5. Help Create a Virtual “Wishlist”
Stephanie of InCultureParent shares a creative solution at her daughters’ school: “As a parent, I am always happy to support any request my kids’ teachers send home for needed supplies. The fact that teachers have to use their own money to make up for insufficient school budgets on top of insufficient salaries (teaching our future generation should be one of the highest paid professions in my opinion!) is just unacceptable. At the end of last year my daughter’s first grade teacher requested donations in a different way than before, which I thought was a great model. She used an online site and made her wish list there, which consisted of an ipad for her classroom to use for math games. My family was happy to help out a lot to purchase one. I loved this idea as the link could easily be shared with out of state grandparents and others who may want to support public schools!” Brilliant! Teachers get just what they need, and everyone – even extended family and friends – gets to participate.
6. Spread the Word
In her wonderful piece on supporting teachers, Jennifer of The Good Long Road writes of the importance of helping to publicize existing donation drives. Let others know about campaigns to support our schools and how they can donate!
7. Volunteer in the Classroom
Jennifer also makes the point that time is also in short supply at local schools. Budget cuts means most schools are understaffed, so consider helping out in the classroom or with activities like field trips. Spending time at your school will not only lend an extra set of hands, it will also help you stay in tune with teachers’ goals and needs.
8. Be a Mentor
Overworked teachers at understaffed schools often don’t have the time to give as much individual attention to students as they would like. Consider volunteering as a mentor to students who might be struggling or who need a little extra guidance. When I was in high school, the local school district had a program that connected volunteers with students who were the first from their families to apply for college. That extra help and encouragement meant the world to them and helped them realize their potential.
9. Keep Up the Support Year-Round
Don’t forget that teachers need our support all year long! Keep in touch with your local school throughout the year to see if there are any particular needs. It can be a real help to do a donate drive in the early spring, when teachers may have exhausted many of the supplies from the start of the year.
10. Support the #GreatList Campaign – and You May Win School Supplies, Too!
This fall Great Clips has teamed up with Adopt A Classroom to help deserving teachers while also addressing the back to school needs of families. Visit the #GreatList page to see how Great Clips has already fulfilled two teachers’ lists!
How can you help? Visit #GreatList page to download a free app that will also save you time! The Online Check-In app lets you add your name to the waiting list at your local Great Clips salon. It’s not an appointment – what it does is let you add your name to the list before arriving at the salon to help save you time. By downloading this simple timesaver, you can help teachers and students! With every download, Great Clips will contribute to Adopt A Classroom (up to $20,000) to help continue to support teachers and students throughout the US and Canada.
Not only that, until 9/5/14, if you upload your own back-to-school supplies list you could win, too! Every day, one randomly chosen winner will get their school supplies bought and shipped to their front door for free (up to $100 value). Visit the #GreatList page to enter today!
If you haven’t ever visited Great Clips before, now is a great time to try! Many Great Clips salons are offering back-to-school pricing for haircuts, plus if you enter the #GreatList contest, you will receive a $2-off Great Clips coupon! (One coupon per customer).
So this back-to-school season, help support teachers in all of their hard work – and save yourself some time and money, too 😉
How do you support your local teachers?