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The ABCs of Supporting Your Child's Teachers

Tennessee teachers appreciate the support of school supplies and patience from parents as the school year begins. Photo courtesy: earl53/morguefile.com
Tennessee teachers appreciate the support of school supplies and patience from parents as the school year begins. Photo courtesy: earl53/morguefile.com
August 12, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - School is open for most public- and private-school students across the state. While much is made over supporting your child as he or she returns to school, the teacher group Professional Educators of Tennessee is encouraging parents to keep in mind that support for teachers is just as important.

Picking up a few extra supplies, including dry-erase markers and paper, goes a long way in easing the burden on schools, said Samantha Bates, the organization's director of membership services.

"Supplies are very important," she said. "Extra anything is always a plus. Everybody runs out of paper and pencils at some point. Everybody -- the poor kid, the rich kid -- everybody runs out of paper. So having extra supplies is really useful."

According to the National School Supply and Equipment Association, teachers on average spend almost $500 of their own money on school supplies, totaling roughly $1.6 billion nationwide every year. The average salary for a Tennessee public school teacher is slightly more than $44,000 a year.

If your child is in need of special attention to manage behavior disorders or other issues, Bates said, it's important to remember that the teacher is trying to get to know the needs of 20 or more students - and it will take a little time.

"If there's something specific your child should be getting, they may not have the official documentation for that," she said. "It's fine to send an email, but you know to call every day is a little bit much, so some patience and understanding can definitely go a long way."

Bates, who spent several years as a teacher, said it's also important to ask your child's teacher what kind of classroom support he or she needs. In some school districts there is an overabundance of parent volunteers, and in others there is a need.

The National School Supply and Equipment Association report is online at edmarket.org.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN