In the wake of Friday’s tragedy in Connecticut, there have been a number of Internet posts and Facebook groups popping up, suggesting that Monday should be “Hug A Teacher Day,” or something of that sort. It’s to show appreciation for teachers and all we do. I appreciate the sentiment, I really do…but as a teacher – and especially as a male teacher – I’m going to say this is nicely as I can:
Please don’t hug me.
While I genuinely do respect the sentiment of hugging teachers, I want to point out that there are a lot of really significant and important ways that parents can show their support and appreciation for what we do that go far beyond a hug – and they’re just as easy to initiate.
If you really want to show appreciation to your student’s teachers, consider one of these alternatives:
- Read to your student for at least 20 minutes today.
- Help him/her with homework – even if you’re not sure how to do it yourself.
- Ask how his/her day was…and then really listen to the answer. Don’t accept any apathetic variation of “It was fine.”
- Look on your school’s website/newsletter for any upcoming events. Plan to attend one.
- Email/call/send a note to your student’s teacher and ask if there is anything you can get for the classroom…or just send something in (tissues are hot commodities right now).
- Email/call/send a note letting a teacher know what you have noticed is working for your student at home…and what isn’t.
- Volunteer to come in and assist.
- Plan to have lunch with your student.
- Check your student’s grades. Ask what THEY are doing to improve themselves.
- Don’t let them settle for average. I won’t.
While we should never forget the victims of this absolutely horrific event, the best way to move on is to refuse to give in to fear. To continue business as usual. And the best way to appreciate the men and women who teach your children is to never forget that YOU are our most important asset in educating, protecting, and enriching the lives of your students.
Don’t hug me. Hug your kid. And then read a book together.