My kids started public school this past year and it was definitely a major milestone in their (and my!) life. There is so much involved in making a school a success and it is inspiring how each cog in the public school system works flawlessly to ensure children are getting a good, well rounded education.
Navigating this school system was a little bit tricky at first because public schools have a highly regulated system. However, from the enrollment process to the kids' medical history to my preference for their class, each person I interacted with was so competent and knowledgeable that they were able to address any of my misgivings with ease. From the registrar who knew their names to the nurse who knew their medical histories, to their teacher who made each student completely at ease, each school employee showed me how valuable they are. Mostly, I was in awe of their kindergarten teacher who managed to get 22 kids to listen to her without raising her voice!
As someone living in a country where the public education system is so well formulated, it baffles me when people complain about it. It also puzzles me when people complain about teachers. Even the most mediocre teacher does almost twice the work I do for half the pay. Criticizing them seems a cruel exercise when most are struggling to make ends meet. When I go to spend lunch time with my kids, I see their teacher calmly lead their class in a line to the lunch room, help them get their food and seat them, and then leave to have her own lunch. She then comes back to help them finish up, line them up, and lead them back to their class. And she does all of this in the space of 30 minutes!
There's a few things I try to do to make sure my kids are trying their best at school and to help the teacher out:
Be involved! I review the kids' homework each day (even if most of the pieces of paper end up in the trash) and ask feedback from the kids about their day.
When I have time, I volunteer at the kids school for small tasks like making photocopies or volunteering for field trips.
When the time for teachers' gifts rolls around, I make sure I give them a gift they can actually use - mostly gift cards with hand written notes about how much I appreciate them.
Teachers are the most valuable tool that help a child succeed especially at the start of their educational cycle… it is only fair that I acknowledge their efforts.