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Teachers are many things. They are gifted, they are brave, they are hard-working. Unfortunately, teachers can also be overworked, underappreciated, and way too stressed.
That's where Parent Groups can make a world of difference.
Of course, you can't do their jobs for them, but you can be there to offer support, resources, and little vacations from the demands of being a teacher.
Most teachers can list off the challenges of their job until their face turns blue. But, we work with educators all the time and we have narrowed down the list to 5 main issues: Work Overload, Inability to Stay Organized, Difficulties with Administrators, Challenges with Parents, & Adapting to Technology. Your Parent Group can empower teachers by meeting some of these needs. You may not be able to change the way teachers are perceived and treated in this country, but you can certainly step up to the plate when it comes to making sure the teachers in your school know they are appreciated.
Below are some creative ideas and methods for teacher empowerment that we hope will inspire you and your Parent Group to take action.
5 Teacher Challenges & Ways Your Parent Group Can Lend a Hand
1. Work Overload
Between lesson plans, meetings, conferences, staying updated on the latest and greatest in education, and, of course, the endless piles of papers to be graded, teachers are overworked.
They not only spend a ton of time working at the school but they also often have to bring work home just in order to stay afloat.
Your Parent Group can do little about the amount of work your teachers have to do, but you can contribute in other empowering ways:
2. Unable to Stay Organized
A teacher's life is chock-full of papers, books, to-do lists, class rosters, lesson plans, and the ever-allusive chalk/dry erase markers. It's no wonder that some teachers find it difficult to stay organized! What's more, most teachers have fluctuating schedules and multiple grades/classes that they teach. Plus, some schools are living half in the digital world and half in the paper world, meaning teachers must balance between online tools and tangible papers for things like grades, class rosters, and even some learning materials.
Instead of shaking our heads in pity, let's see this as an opportunity to step in and help out! Disorganization is a problem that is incredibly well-suited to Parent Groups because most of us have found efficient and creative ways to keep our materials, finances, calendars, volunteer lists, etc. organized. And, if you're reading that last statement and thinking, "well...not all of us" then we recommend checking out our previous blog post on Organizing Your PTO Using Online Tools.
3. Difficulties With Administrators
Teachers work hard and so do administrators, but sometimes these two groups can clash.
Teachers and admins both have the same goal: to make their schools & students the best they can be. However, sometimes the pursuit of these goals can lead to some headbutting. As a Parent Group, you are in a unique bridge-building position and can serve as a mediator between teachers and administrators in some creative ways!
4. Challenges With Parents
It's not always the kiddos that are causing stress for teachers. Sometimes parents can present challenges for teachers, especially with the current pressure being put on simply getting an "A" rather than getting a quality education.
There are all types of parents that teachers must interact with: the parent that wants to tell the teacher how to do his/her job, the parent who thinks a teacher assign too much homework, the parent that asks too much of a teacher's time, and the list goes on.
There is so much pressure in today's society for our kids to succeed and this is often translated into a burden being placed on the teacher, as opposed to the student.
So, what can we do? A ton! As a Parent Group, you have a huge stake in this challenge. Making sure there are positive teacher-parent relations in your school is a high-priority, and here are a few ways to make it happen:
5. Adapting to Technology
Many teachers are now tasked with adjusting traditional teaching methods to adapt to technology in the classroom. While technology, such as iPads and laptops, can make for unique ways of learning and interacting with information, it can also put stress on teachers who are either not used to the technology or find that it gets in the way of learning.
Here's how you can help: