It is “back to school” like no other time in our history. School districts are debating whether to reopen in person or conduct online learning, or a combination of both! Schools that do reopen may be faced with enforced closures if the virus positivity rate increases within the school or district. The uncertainty of how to respond to the virus has created unbelievable stress for teachers, students and parents. That stress is heightened by the polarization of the loud opinions concerning how teachers should do their job.
Our educational system is built upon the backs of caring, faithful and committed teachers, whom in most districts are underpaid and underappreciated. There’s a huge learning curve for many since most have never taught remotely before. Our teachers are working fast and furious to meet the demands of the time. They know that at a moment’s notice, they may have to pivot and change course… again.
The teachers I know, and I’m married to one, desire to make a difference in the lives of their students. They teach because it’s their passion, and in many cases, their calling. I’ve heard teachers talk about the many unusual challenges and I’ve seen first-hand the stress that COVID-19 has created in their lives. However, they keep pressing on, because of the students.
Teachers are concerned that online learning may be hindered because some students don’t have access to proper technology. Will teachers and students be safe if in-person classes are held? Or, how do you console a child by remaining socially distant? Some wonder if they can effectively teach while simultaneously enforcing social distancing and managing the safety of their students. The list of questions and concerns goes on and on.
The people we depend upon to educate our community’s children are struggling and the church has an opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ to them. There are many ways that we can provide encouragement and support to local teachers and doing so will open the door for gospel conversations. It is also very likely that schools will promote and participate in your church’s activities in the future if you provide practical, loving support to their teachers.
Here are some suggestions for how your church can minister to teachers:
- Appreciation breakfasts/lunches or coffee bars
- Drawings for gift cards or special services
- Provide volunteers to help with reading/after school-tutoring etc.
- Notes of encouragement
- Personalized care packages
- Meal trains – volunteers sign up to deliver to teacher’s home
- Adopt a teacher/classroom to care for
- Donations from a classroom “wish list”
- PRAY for them and WITH them
For more information and ideas for how your church can show support and encourage teachers during this difficult time, check out the “We Love Teachers” initiative implemented by Seed to Oaks at www.seedtooaks.com.