Our School Expert Ciara McGuane of Rahoo.ie tells us why you should show your child's teacher some love this Christmas.
‘Tis the season to be jolly… Christmas is well and truly underway and it is officially the season of goodwill! It’s a lovely time of year to show your appreciation to your nearest and dearest, as well as to people within the wider community who make a difference to your life. For most, Christmas offers an opportunity to reflect on the year and show gratitude for all that went well, and to make peace with what didn’t.
One of the things that I am most grateful for (all year round!) are the wonderful staff that work in my son’s Montessori and creche. From the moment he joined the centre, my husband and I have been thankful for the care and warmth he has received.
In terms of his development, it has been hugely reassuring to us that he is in a place where he is well looked after and is supported in achieving milestones.
This special place has provided him with his first experience of a formal education environment, and it has been a hugely positive one. And what makes it so special is the people who work there – the teachers and the support staff.
For me, the festive season is a chance to show them how much I value what they do every day and how much it means to our family.
Here are three reasons why you should show your child’s teacher some love this Christmas:
1. A teacher is the most important asset to your child’s learning.
According to the OECD (2016), after socio-economic factors; a
teacher and what they do in the classroom has the greatest impact on student
achievement. This is mirrored by a plethora of research. This goes without
saying and seems like an obvious point to make but the teacher is often
forgotten with the discussions and debates around curriculum change, technology
in the classroom and the politics around education. In short, your child’s
teacher is vital to their success. Show them you care.
2. They care about your child.
What keeps teachers awake at night? Thoughts like “Mary was quiet
today, I wonder if everything is okay with her”? or “John is really struggling
with his maths, I wonder would I be over-reacting to request an assessment on
his learning needs”? or “Sarah came to school with no lunch again, what should
I recently attended Féilte, an event run by the Teaching Council for teachers to share best practice. One of the keynote speakers was Andy Hargreaves, a global researcher in education. He made the point that “teaching is an emotional practice” and that the public doesn’t see the full duties and responsibilities that teachers hold.
For me, a huge part of this is the worry for your students. You have 30 of them in front of you and you want them to do well, to be okay and to be happy. It is heart-breaking when there are things going on in their lives that are upsetting. Sometimes, it can feel like such a burden. I speak from experience when I say that these things can keep teachers up at night. Why?
Because they care about your child and have their best interests at heart.
3. They love you!
One of the best parts of the job can be meeting your student’s parents or guardians. I especially enjoy getting the opportunity for a proper chat at parent-teacher meetings – many of you will have had your meetings last month. It is so enjoyable to meet a student’s parents – you get to see where they got that dimple on their chin, their love for art or their sense of humour.
When you meet your student’s parents, you can pick out the quirks that they share and it feels so personal to get a glimpse into their home lives and family.
So there you have it - three reasons to show your child’s teacher some love and gratitude this Christmas!
P.S. Teacher’s love chocolate… Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas!