Your Local Public School Teachers and Your Faith
I’m seeing so many posts in my Facebook feed this week about public schools. It’s understandable that parents are concerned. What the government does with the minds of our children is vital. We have battles to fight and lines to draw.
In light of this growing concern, I have an idea that I’d like to share with you. If you think it’s a good idea, maybe you could share it with others, as well?
What would happen if Christians and churches all around the country made a unified effort to adopt individual public school teachers in their local communities? What if we found out the names and needs of those men and women who spend long days training America’s children and then found ways to support their practical needs?
Even if our own families home school or private school, people "out there" are trying to help kids who remain in the system. Their job is exhausting sometimes; they don’t get paid much; and they often have to work without affirmation, adequate resources, or volunteer help.
So while we are fighting whatever political battles we must fight, can’t we also fill the local battlefields with immediate encouragement and assistance? Can’t we be voices of love and life to those who engage with America’s children every day?
Maybe your small group, Sunday School class, or home school co-op could adopt a public teacher or two? Maybe your family could do the same?
I’m including a list of possible ideas below that might help you think of how you could get involved. You might have another idea that's even better. If so, add it in a comment so that others can jump on board!
1. A coffee or grocery gift card and a Thank You note
2. Movie tickets
3. A gift basket full of : pens, pencils, glue sticks, Kleenex, Post-It Tabs, and a few fun items to brighten a classroom
4. A “What Do Your Students Need?” questionnaire that offers to help provide items for kids who come to school with nothing
5. A “What Do You Need?” questionnaire that offers to help provide items for teachers with limited classroom budgets
6. An offer to come in after hours or on a weekend and clean the classroom or paint playground equipment
7. An offer to come and help as a tutor or aide (depending on school requirements for background checks)
8. An offer to spend a Saturday doing yard work for the teacher at her house so that she can get a true weekend off
9. A nice, framed poster to hang in the teacher’s classroom (Check with fire code regulations first.)
10. A “socks-of-the-month” club (or “fresh-fruit-of-the-month, or coffee, or chocolate) that leaves a little present for your teacher twelve times over the next year
11. If your small group or Sunday School class is able financially, maybe an offer to help with a major life need. Medical bills for a disabled spouse? A new computer? A vehicle that works?
12. Or, go crazy and pool money to send a tired teacher on a vacation. A lot of teachers never take vacations because they are just too expensive.
Some of these steps are quick and easy, and they wouldn’t take much time or money. Others are more extravagant. However, I’m guessing that by taking even the simplest of these steps, Christians can let those who are caught in the middle of society’s ideological battles know that we see them and that we care.
Even if these teachers do not know Jesus--even if they are hostile toward Him--maybe we can still move in and be generous and kind. We don't need to smother teachers with religious platitudes or exhortations. Once we explain who we are and why we are doing this, no more needs to be said unless we are asked.
Simply being there to help is enough, because when we reduce stress in a teacher’s life, we minister to every child she teaches. And who knows? Who knows what might happen if the body of Christ begins to act like the hands and feet of a loving God to those who touch nearly every child in America every day?
Maybe what was taken away when prayer was removed from school could be restored by the followers of Jesus offering real-time human service and happy generosity in a time of need—and not just restored, but magnified beyond any results any of us could presently imagine.