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Insights from a High School Teacher: How to Support Education and Build a Community

If you ever want an eye-opening experience, sit down and talk to a high school teacher about the challenges they face. From the expectations of students and parents to the demands of the district and administration, the life of a teacher is a dynamic journey. Let's take a moment to gain insight from a teacher I know, who shared valuable recommendations for things that can be helpful to students, parents, and the community:

1. Teacher to new Teachers Essential Supplies:

To create a conducive learning environment, students require basic supplies such as notebooks, folders/binders, pre-sharpened pencils, markers, scissors, glue, colored pencils, and plastic containers for organization. The teacher suggests finding affordable organizers from places like Bullseye's Playground at Target or the Dollar Store, along with cups to store materials and labels for desk identification.

2. Helpful Additions to Enhance Classroom Management:

Certain additional items can significantly contribute to organization and efficiency in the classroom. A 12-drawer cart proves to be invaluable for student turn-ins, distributing materials, and weekly organization. A 3-shelf cart aids in organizing teacher desk materials and providing extras that students might need. Magnetic whiteboard eraser towels, a magnetic timer, paper sleeves for dry-erase markers, and a pencil dispenser (similar to a straw dispenser) that reduces time spent searching for the "best" pencil are also beneficial. While schools typically have a laminator, having a personal one can be a convenient asset.

3. Avoid Wasting Money on Unnecessary Items:

Based on experience, the teacher advises against purchasing phone chargers, as they tend to get taken or misplaced. Additionally, refrain from buying mugs for the office, as teachers often receive plenty of them. Instead, the school offers the option to print and laminate posters, saving unnecessary expenses. The teacher also recommends holding off on buying anything until you've seen the classroom and met your students, as this will help identify specific needs.

4. Recommended Helpful Websites for Students:

To complement classroom learning, the teacher recommends various websites that can enhance students' knowledge and understanding. is excellent for graphic design, while Desmos offers valuable math-related activities. A classroom management platform like Classroom, Canvas, or Blackboard can streamline communication and assignments. Review quiz platforms like Kahoot, Blooket, Gimkit, Quizzizz, or Quizlet provide engaging ways to reinforce concepts. Although subscriptions to these platforms aren't mandatory, they have been found helpful for both teachers and students.

5. Important Information for Parents:

Phones ARE a distraction in the classroom, and it's important for you to not encourage kids by texting/calling during class time. Teachers WANT you to communicate about what's going on. When something is going on at home and they need some space, when they feel like something is going on at school and they need some help, if you need something from us to help your student better, and if they say something at home that you need clarification on, all of those things are things teachers would love to help you with.

6. Keys to Student Success in Class:

Asking questions and being honest are the best ways to pass a class. If you put in effort, your teacher will want to help you. If you come in outside of class, your teacher will want to help you. Teachers are there to help, but they can not do everything for you. You have to take the first step to do well in class, and that first step is effort.

7. How the General Community Can Support Teachers:

Asking your local teachers what they need is the first step. If you know a teacher and have the means, ask them what they have on their wishlist. Go to your school district or to your school's administration team to find ways to communicate with teachers or to find out specific needs.

It is very likely that you have a Title I school in your area. These schools have a large percentage of students on free/reduced lunch, and with that have a high need for materials. They will take coats, hats, gloves, scarf, backpacks, clothes, food, and whatever else you can think of for donations. Reach out to your local Title I schools, and ask them what they need.

8. Insight into the Teaching Profession:

Teaching is a very rewarding and awesome profession. It has a lot of bad days, but it also has a lot of good days. The biggest takeaway from all of these things should be that teachers are here to help, advocate for, and bring together students. We are here to build a community, and we do that every single day through our teaching and our classroom expectations and procedures.

In conclusion, supporting education and the teaching profession is a collective effort. By understanding the needs of students, teachers, and schools, we can foster a nurturing learning environment and build a supportive community. Let's recognize the dedication and passion of teachers, appreciating the impact they have on shaping the future through their tireless commitment to education.

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