They complain about everything as mundane as the color of the PE uniform shorts to important things like bullying and school safety. There is not a lot of discrepancy as to the tone of their concerns. Everything is a major emergency. If a child is not placed in the same room as her friend during the overnight field trip, calls placed to the administration have the same sense of urgency as ones made about the child not being able to pass a reading test.
|Funny T-shirt from Zazzle.com|
They are a tough crowd so I have made it my business to make sure that when a teacher has done an outstanding job, I write a letter at the end of the year. Not to the teacher, but to her boss. I only write when I feel that it is heartfelt and honest. I don't blow smoke. Some years, none are written. This year, as I exit a school that I've been involved with for many years, the letter will be sent to the " superintendent" and will praise more than one person by name.
Not only do I live in the land of complainers, I live in the land of major gift givers. It has been rumored that court-side seats to Miami Heat games and complimentary weekends at local five star resorts have been given as Christmas and End of the Year gifts to teachers and staff by well connected parents. While well intentioned, that $10 gift card to Starbucks or a scented candle that most of us pass out seems a little chintzy. My letters are appreciated though. In fact, one of the teachers that I wrote a letter about many years ago, came up to me during the book fair this year and told me that she still has a copy the letter in a box of mementoes from her first years of teaching. She said that she had really been touched by the fact that a nice letter was written to her principal about her.
So along with that #1 Teacher Coffee mug which included a thank you letter to the teacher herself, you might want to pen a few lines to her boss about how lucky the school is to have her on staff. Use examples but make it short and sweet. (One page is enough ). Send a cc to the teacher. Even if your school year is over, it is not too late. Principals still work for part of the summer. It might not be extravagant but it is a thoughtful gift.