In a study, the U.S. Department of Education found nearly 50% of new teachers leave the profession within the first five years, and only 44% of teachers are very satisfied with their job. Oftentimes, studies cite low salaries and an overwhelming workload as reasons for a low satisfaction rating among teachers.

As a former teacher, one reason teaching is difficult is due to the lack of support. Sometimes there is a lack of support at the administrative and district levels. And sometimes there is a lack of support in the community. When parents are engaged in their children’s schools and communities support teachers, there is a much higher satisfaction rate, which leads to a lower turnover rate in the teaching profession.

Here are some ways you can support your local schools and teachers whether you are a parent of a child attending a local school or a single residing in your community.

1. Volunteer at your local school.

When we think of teachers, we think of creating lesson plans, tutoring students before and after school, and grading papers. While these are teachers’ main duties, they also spend a large amount of time on tasks such as making copies, stapling packets, laminating posters, and cutting out classroom décor and various paper items for lessons and activities. Many of these tasks can be completed by volunteers.

So, if you want to make a difference in the life of a teacher, be a room helper or volunteer at his or her school. Even if you do not have children, you can still volunteer at a local school to assist teachers. Or if you have a friend or LifeGroup member that is a teacher, you can ask how you can help him or her throughout the year.

Just remember volunteering can help teachers focus on what matters most in their job: the success and well-being of their students.

2. Participate in SchoolZone.

A great way to support teachers this year is to participate in SchoolZone. Each year, the Chase Oaks Family Center partners with local schools and organizations to provide for struggling students and teachers.

Donate teacher supplies.

According to an online article for The New York Times, 94% of teachers spend their own money on school supplies without reimbursement. And teachers spend approximately $500 on average per year on supplies, with some teachers spending as much as $1,000.

This year, the Family Center is inviting teachers to shop for classroom supplies at no cost. To set up their classrooms for success, teachers need supplies such as hand sanitizer, Kleenex, and Expo markers. You can make a difference by donating teacher supplies for our SchoolZone Store.

For a complete list of teacher supplies, visit SchoolZone 2019. You can drop off supplies during the weekend services of July 26-28 at a campus near you.

Donate student supplies.

Oftentimes, when a student comes to school without supplies, teachers will buy extra supplies to provide for those who cannot afford to purchase them. Therefore, if we can provide the necessary supplies for students from struggling families, then we can prevent another school supply shopping trip for the teachers!

To donate supplies during our backpack school supply drive, download a supply list, purchase a backpack, fill it with supplies for a specific grade level, and drop it off at one of our campuses during the weekend services of July 26-28.

Whether you are donating teacher or student supplies, you can check out our list and order them on Amazon.

3. Be a mentor.

Being a teacher is more than just teaching academics and good citizenship. Teachers often mentor students who are struggling either in school or in their personal lives. But teachers do not always have time to mentor each student that is struggling, especially when the struggles are outside of school. Some at-risk students who do not have a teacher mentor might start falling behind in school.

But having a mentor helps these students gain the confidence they need to succeed in their classes. Most local school districts have a mentor program. Our campuses partner with local school districts’ mentor programs, including Plano ISD, Allen ISD, and Wylie ISD.

Check with your local school district to see how you can mentor students this year! This can give teachers more opportunities to help all students succeed in their classrooms.

4. Write a note of encouragement.

Teachers start off the year fired up and ready to go! They love getting their classrooms organized and ready for the first day. They are excited to meet the students to put faces to the names on their roster. They like playing icebreaker games and getting to know their students.

Although teachers love their jobs, teaching on a daily basis is difficult. As the school year goes on, teachers feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Looking at the stack of papers that need to be graded can make teachers feel discouraged as they cannot seem to find enough hours in a day to complete all their tasks. Sometimes they count down the days until the next three-day weekend or long break (just to catch up on grading).

But writing a simple note of encouragement can go a long way. If you are a parent of a student, write about the impact the teacher has had on your child—whether the teacher has helped them improve their writing or has given them confidence. Or you can just thank them for all the hard work they do for your child. If you have friends that are teachers, remind them of the importance of their job and share the good qualities that make them great teachers.

A note of encouragement is an excellent way to get teachers fired up again! It renews their sense of purpose and worth and gives them the strength to carry on throughout the school year.

5. Treat a teacher.

Treats are always the way to a teacher’s heart. Small treats and gifts show your appreciation for teachers and everything they do to make our community a better place. Teachers always get excited about treats because they are always surprised when receiving them. And yes, they will brag in the teacher’s lounge when parents bring treats.

Some great treats for teachers are books (maybe some they can use for their classroom library), Sonic drinks, Starbucks gift cards, or candy (lots of chocolate). If you are not sure what to get a teacher, email them to ask where they like to eat or shop for personal and school items.

Don’t just wait for Teacher’s Appreciation Week. Treat teachers throughout the year. Maybe find a group of parents and plan when each parent will give a special treat to the teacher. This will make his or her year a lot easier and more memorable!