Teachers really are unsung heroes. They’re passionate about teaching our kids and seeing them succeed.
My sister is one of my heroes. For years she worked one-on-one with teens in a high school Special Education department. I even remember her buying school supplies with her own money so she could effectively teach.
My sister and her colleagues really love what they do, and, of course, they love their kids, too. What they don’t love is some of the things kids and even parents bring to class!
The first day of school is coming up quick, so here’s a quick little refresher of what to bring to school — and what not to! Who knows, you may even get some ideas for how to show your appreciation for your child’s teachers and all they do, too!
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1. Leave it at home: Toys & noisy items
Some younger kids like to bring their toys to school, but these can quickly become a distraction. Even if they’re small and quiet, toys can upset other children who don’t have their own toy to play with or even distract your child from the lesson being taught.
Teens also love their music, but even with headphones it can be a distraction for everyone around. Some kids will try to keep one headphone in to listen to their tunes while doing their work, but teachers would prefer they pay attention to their lesson and not their songs.
Make things easier for your teacher — and your child — by leaving anything distracting or noisy at home.
Bring this to school instead: Teacher supplies
More and more teachers are having to spend their own money to cover the cost of school supplies. Helping out with this extra cost is the perfect way to show some teacher appreciation and make sure every child, including yours, has a wonderful learning experience throughout the year.
Rather than bringing in supplies at random, check with your teacher first to see what they need. Many teachers love to have art supplies or even musical instruments on hand, but more and more these costs are being cut. Some districts have even seen their whole music departments cut!
Now is the perfect time to help your teacher shop for extra supplies like markers, construction paper, and glue because you can still find some amazing steals on back to school supplies.
Online stores like Discount School Supply are offering great deals on items teachers would love to have in their classroom, like markers, paint, musical instruments, interactive classroom calendars, and much more.
Pitching in with a few school supplies will help your child’s learning experience, too. Check for online offers, like this one from Discount School Supply for 20% off classroom favorites and free shipping on all stock orders over $99 with code CLASSRM. (Exp. 8/15)
2. Leave it at home: Wheelie shoes
Kids love to scoot around on wheelie shoes, but these can be distracting and even dangerous. Just imagine your child trying to skate on their shoes through a crowded school hallway!
It’s better to keep these speedy shoes at home and just let your kids wear their regular shoes at school.
Bring this to class instead: Gold stars & stickers
Teachers like to honor a child’s accomplishments with little stickers and stars on their papers or on achievement boards. This is something they usually have to pay for themselves, so giving a teacher a couple packages of these would be greatly appreciated!
3. Leave it at home: Edible gifts
You may be really excited about sending your child off with a box of baked goodies or other treats for their classmates and teacher on the first day of school, but in reality this may not be such a good idea.
While it truly is the thought that counts, your child’s classmates or teacher may have allergies and won’t be able to share in the treats. Sugary items could also become a distraction, as kids will go on a sugar high and then a sugar crash, leaving the teacher struggling to keep everyone’s attention.
Some schools won’t even allow homemade treats or even prepackaged candies and snacks to be brought in. As a rule, it’s probably better to check with your teacher first if you really want to treat your child’s class, and if food is out of the question, think of another way to make the kids feel special.
Bring this to class instead: Homemade gifts
If your family is on a tight budget and helping out with school supplies is out of the question, don’t worry. Teachers also appreciate thoughtful, handmade gifts. Even something as simple as a handwritten note thanking them for taking the time to teach your child means a lot.
If your child is old enough, you could ask them help make a gift for their teacher. Let them write the note or put the finishing touches on a small craft. They’ll be even more excited to hand their personalized gift over to teacher on the first day of school!
Need a little inspiration for a gift your teacher will love? Try making one of these 16 cute DIY teacher appreciation gifts, like these easy washi tape Post-It notes!
4. Leave it at home or in the locker: Cellphones
Although they can be handy if a parent needs to reach their children during school hours, most teachers (and parents, too) don’t want cellphones in class.
If you’d like your child to have access to a cellphone in case of an emergency, ask them to keep it in their locker or, if you must, in their bag and on silent during class.
It may be a good idea to simply leave them at home, though, since phones aren’t only distracting during classes, but kids may spend their lunch and breaks texting and playing games instead of socializing and making new friends.
Bring this to school instead: Books
Books are another thing many teachers have to pay out of pocket for. Story time is a big part of younger kids’ days, and reading is an activity even middle and high school students enjoy.
If your child has a few books they’ve outgrown — or maybe you even have some that are appropriate for the Young Adult section of your school’s library, see if you can donate them.
Giving away old books to your child’s school can be a learning lesson — as well as a chance to fill their bookshelves with more age-appropriate novels, like these 19 classic books for kids of every age!
5. Leave it at home: Heavy scents
There’s a reason why certain scents remind us of high school! Teens love to show their personality by wearing heavily-scented perfumes and colognes, but these can be too much for teachers and other students.
Some kids are even allergic to fragrances (I’m highly allergic myself), so it’s better — and safer — to skip the scents or. If your teen just rolls their eyes at you when you make this suggestion, offer up a compromise by asking them to only apply a small amount of perfume or cologne.
Bring this to class instead: Kleenex
Every parent knows that when back to school time rolls around, it’s time to get the cold and flu medicine ready! Make sure your child is well prepared for a runny or stuffy nose by packing some travel-sized tissues in their bag.
Would it surprise you to know this is another item teachers often have to pay for themselves? Why not check with your child’s teacher to see if this something else that might be a helpful donation to the classroom. If there’s one stuffy nose, there’s sure to be ten more on the way!