But Maybe Not a Live Frog (Appreciating the Teachers in Your Life)

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It actually happened more than once when I was teaching high school...

That my students, in genuine kindness, gave me a real frog for a present.

And while "live amphibian" might not be the best route to thank the teachers in your child's life... The heart behind the gift is something I want to share.

Every year at Christmas, I pull our ornaments out of the box and there are several frog ornaments that are among my favorites. Because they remind me of specific children from back in my teaching days, who made an effort to let me know they were thankful I was their teacher. And they knew me. They knew how much I really do like frogs. Something about the whole process of tadpole to hopper-- It just amazes me!

But, it wasn't just the frogs or gifts.
I have a whole file of sweet notes and pictures from students who forever will be close to my heart. And when I was teaching, it meant so much to receive those little treasures of thankfulness. My students had no idea what an encouragement they were to me.

And so when our children reached school age, I wanted to put real effort into being an encouragement to the teachers in our lives. But to do that effectively, I wanted to actually get to know their teachers.
So over the years this questionnaire, "Getting to Know our Teachers" developed (free printable available at the bottom of the post).

How does it work?

First, we created a list of questions that help us get to know the teacher. I make sure at the top to mention that they only need to fill out what they want to and have time for.

Some of the questions are very basic--
"Favorite sports team?"
"Any hobbies?"
"Favorite snack?"

But I really appreciate the more meaningful questions--
"What is your most difficult time of the year/week/day?"
"Is there anything extra special or unusual happening in your life this year? (Baby, wedding, family illness, etc.)"

It's amazing what teachers have shared over the years... Our family quickly knows how to pray for our teachers if they are willing to answer these questions.
Sometimes it's joyful-- "My daughter is getting married in March."
Sometimes it's heartbreaking-- "December is always difficult because it's the anniversary of my husband's death."
But--immediately, the teacher becomes more than just a name on paper and we care about him or her in a very real way.

My goal is to get the questions to each child's teacher before (or as close to) the start of the school year, because I know how crazy it gets once school starts. Sometimes I will drop the letter by the office or put it in their personal box so that they will find it as soon as possible. But even if it arrives with your child on the first day of school, the teacher will know you do care about them and want to be supportive. I would recommend always including a return envelope that is stamped so that the teacher can just stick their responses in the mail. The goal is to keep the whole process as easy and as simple as possible.

If you homeschool or other school (like we do), you might consider this option for the other teachers or leaders in your child's life (Sunday school, youth leaders, sports coaches, class instructors, or it could easily be modified as a means of reaching out to your neighbors).

God wants us to encourage each other. He loves it when we pray for one another. This is just one way to reach out to the teachers investing in your family and your children. And from a former-high-school-english-teacher...I can't even begin to explain what a huge encouragement those little signs of thankfulness were throughout my teacher days. (But maybe avoid the live frog option).

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing…”
1 Thess. 5:11

Find the free teacher questionnaire printable here.  

With Love, Kara @ The Chuppies

 

Today's post is part of our Back to School series!