Teachers are the backbone of the education system. Teacher Appreciation Week is May 7 to May 11 and it is the perfect time to let those exceptional teachers know just how much of a difference they make. Kumon asked a handful of educators some questions about how parents and students can show their appreciation. The answers were informative, simple and heartwarming.

Give Thanks by Staying Involved

Across the board, teachers feel most supported when parents are involved in their children’s education. Supporting the teaching style, checking homework, keeping children accountable and staying on top of report cards and class requirements were all cited as incredibly helpful. Asking questions was also encouraged, in addition to communicating with the teacher about your child’s needs and any special situations.

Schoolteachers share the same goals as parents — they want your child to succeed, and they recognize that parents and guardians play an enormous role in that success. By staying involved in the education process, you support educators and make them feel appreciated.

Give Thanks by Being Courteous and Prepared

Skip the apple. The number one way students can show gratitude to schoolteachers is simply to be kind, attentive and prepared. A warm smile and a hello go a long way in making a teacher’s day. It is even better when a student stays engaged in class, is kind to fellow students and straightens up his or her work area.

One teacher summed it up best: “Genuine common courtesy goes a long way with me.”

Give Thanks by Providing Supplies

When asked what schoolteachers need most for their classrooms, general school supplies were a top request. Pencils, paper, cleaning supplies, healthy snacks for elementary school and books for English classes were the most requested items. Every school is different, so be sure to ask your child’s teacher what he or she needs. For some, the perfect gift could be as simple as paper and pencils wrapped in a bow, or a basket filled with cleaning supplies or snacks for the class. Of course, attaching a genuine thank-you note can make it all the better.

Why Teachers Are Thankful

We wrapped up our questionnaire by asking teachers what makes them thankful. They love having a career that is both diverse and challenging, and certainly never gets boring. Teachers are thankful when parents and the school administration provide a supportive work environment for them, but at the heart of it all is their students.

Teachers feel grateful when students grow and learn. Whenever students take time to let a teacher know how their lives are going and how that teacher made an impact, the message of gratitude is made even more enduring. Whether expressed by a handwritten note, a smile or a simple thank-you, showing gratitude enriches everyone’s life. Take the time to give thanks, and you can not only improve someone’s day, but you can also make a lasting impression. Teachers are no different from the rest of us, and they feel great when you take an interest and communicate your appreciation. If you haven’t had the opportunity to give thanks to a special educator, start today! 

 
 
Teachers are the backbone of the education system. The fall and winter months, which are often peppered with traditions of reflection and gratitude, are the perfect time to let those exceptional teachers know just how much of a difference they truly make. Kumon asked a handful of educators some questions about how parents and students can show their appreciation. The answers were informative, surprisingly simple and certainly heartwarming. 

Give Thanks by Staying InvolvedAcross the board, teachers feel most supported by parents when the parents stay involved. Supporting the teaching style, checking homework, keeping your children accountable and staying on top of report cards and class requirements were all cited as incredibly helpful. Asking questions was also encouraged, in addition to communicating with the teacher about your child’s needs and any special situations. Schoolteachers ultimately want your child to succeed; and they know that you, as a parent or guardian, play an enormous role in that success. By staying involved in the education process, you support your child’s teacher and make him or her feel deeply appreciated.

Give Thanks by Being Courteous and Prepared Skip the apple. The best ways students can show gratitude to schoolteachers are simply to be kind, attentive and prepared. A warm smile and a hello go a long way in making a teacher’s day. It is even better when a student stays engaged in class, is kind to fellow students and straightens up his or her work area. One teacher sums it up best: “Genuine common courtesy goes a long way with me.” 

Give Thanks by Providing Supplies When asked what schoolteachers often need for their classrooms, general school supplies, including pencils, paper, cleaning supplies, healthy snacks for elementary school and books for English classes, were the most requested items. Every school is different, so be sure to ask your child’s teacher what he or she needs. For some, the perfect gift could be as simple as paper and pencils wrapped in a bow or a basket filled with cleaning supplies or snacks for the class. Of course, attaching a genuine thank-you note can make it all the better. 

Why Teachers Are Thankful We wrapped up our questionnaire by asking for what teachers were most thankful. They love having diverse and challenging jobs that never get boring. Teachers are thankful when parents and the school administration provide a supportive work environment for them, but at the heart of it all are the students. Across the board, teachers feel grateful when students grow and learn. Whenever students take time to let a teacher know how their lives are going and how that teacher made an impact, the message of gratitude is made even more enduring. Whether expressed by a hand-written note, a smile or a simple thank-you, showing gratitude enriches everyone’s lives. Take the time to give thanks, and you can not only improve someone’s day, but you can also make a lasting impression. Teachers are no different from the rest of us, and they feel great when you take an interest and communicate your appreciation. If you haven’t had the opportunity to give thanks to a special educator, start today! 
 
 
_The handwritten letter is a dying art form, but very little can compare to the joy of holding an envelope in your hand, opening it and reading a note that someone took the time to craft by hand. When thinking of ways to show gratitude to those who matter most in your life, take out a blank sheet of paper or empty note card and resolve to write a heartfelt message. Here are some tips to help you along the way, from start and to finish.

Timing
You can write a thank-you note for any occasion, but thank-you notes are especially appropriate when you have received a gift, after a dinner or party or when someone does anything especially thoughtful for you, such as lending you a book or showing you around town. It is best to send the thank you note as close to the date of the kindness as possible. Although it is better late than never, try to send your note within a two-week time frame.

The Basics
Use stationery or a nice, blank note card. Find your favorite pen (be sure to use something that doesn’t smear) and pick out a fun stamp. If your child is writing the note, he or she can moderately decorate the note and envelope. Addressing an envelope is a great way to familiarize your child with addresses and encourage his or her memory of your home address.

The Contents
Start with the salutation, the formality of which depends on who will be receiving the note. “Dear” is a classic opener, but there are many options. Be creative, warm and familiar if you are sending the note to a close friend or loved one. Stick with the traditional “dear” if you are writing to someone less close, such as a co-worker, potential employer or your child’s teacher.

The body of your thank-you note should immediately express your gratitude for the gift or service. Follow up with specifics about your enjoyment and use of the gift or service. Add a personal note if you are familiar with the recipient, such as recent life news. Then wrap up your note with an expression of gratitude and a reference to the future, such as the next time you will see the recipient or good wishes for an upcoming event in the recipient’s life.

However you chose to show gratitude to those that matter in your life, the important thing is to stop and remember to be thankful. By engaging in this simple and rewarding practice, you will set a great example for your children while brightening someone’s day!
 
 
_November is a time for reflection and giving thanks. As the holidays approach, we continue our series of helpful articles for parents with a special emphasis on gratitude. Visit our Facebook page to benefit from our weekly parenting column, share your stories and to join the ongoing conversation.

Here are the articles you can look forward to reading on our blog and on Facebook in November:

·         The Art of the Thank-You Note--The handwritten letter is a dying art form. As we encourage our Facebook fans to show gratitude in the month of November, this article will be a guide to writing good letters and thank-you notes. We will outline what makes a good letter and give parents tips on how to teach their children to write and appreciate letters.

·         Rituals of Gratitude--Rituals, such as holiday traditions or weekly outings, provide a foundation for family identity. This article will provide tips for making gratitude and reflection a fun and meaningful family habit.

·         How to Thank a Teacher--There are more ways to thank teachers along with entering them in the Kumon Thank a Teacher Contest. In this article, we’ll offer up ways that parents can support their children’s teachers at various stages: elementary, middle and high school. We will interview teachers and include their tips in the article.

·         Tips from the Study Smart Sweepstakes--This article gathers together the best study tips from the Study Smart Sweepstakes to help keep parents inspired as homework increases and the hectic schedule of the holidays approaches.

Also, thank you to all who entered the “Smart Study Tips” contest. Your study tips have inspired the entire Kumon community.

We also hope to see your participation in the conversations on Facebook and Twitter throughout the month.