Some may wonder why teachers deserve a whole week of thank yous and celebration. WE know why. They arrive at work early and leave late. They often take home papers to grade and spend countless hours planning and preparing for lessons.
In fact, police officers, lawyers, retail workers, engineers, welders, and virtually all professions wouldn’t exist if there hadn’t been someone to teach them how to read, write, solve equations, measure, think critically, and so much more. We know that a week really isn’t enough to say thanks to teachers.
Teachers absolutely love all the special treats, gift cards, and recognition that are typically part of teacher appreciation week, but there are a few things teachers really would like to have too.
Teachers have busy schedules. Their days are filled with planning, preparing and grading lessons, all tasks that often take several hours a week. But most planning periods are taken up with meetings, phone calls, and other things. Lunch break is usually a time for teachers to answer emails or run down the hall to pick up their classes from the cafeteria.
Give them a week without after school meetings, or extra meetings that take up planning time. They’d love a week to enjoy lunch and savor all the great food that will no doubt land in the teacher’s work room. If you want to meet with the faculty, have a quick meeting, but only to acknowledge all the great things happening on campus and share your appreciation for all their hard work.
2. Relaxed Dress Code
If your campus doesn’t already have a jeans and casual shoes policy, change the dress code for the week. Allow jeans and comfortable shirts that are school appropriate. Teachers in jeans = happy teachers ready to take everything the day throws at them.
3. Involve students in the fun
Students should be a big part of the celebration. After all, their growth and development are the whole reason teachers get out of bed in the morning.
Younger students can write a thank you card, color in thank-you coloring sheets, or even work on a classroom art project to give to their teacher as a special keepsake. I know I still have one from my first class and I treasure it!
Older students can be encouraged to express their appreciation by writing a note to a teacher to tell them what they mean to them or just to say thanks. Capture pictures of students and teachers to share on the school website and around the school. Let students share their thoughts about what makes their teacher special.
Teachers love to hear from former students. Post on social media for students of all ages to send a letter to the school to their former teacher or post a status update on the school’s social media to let the teacher know what they’re doing now or the impact the teacher made on their lives.
4. School supplies
At this time of year, supplies are running low and teachers have already spent their own money on their classroom supplies. Their biggest needs are pencils, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, and tissues. If you have extra things to spare in the school supply closet, make a gift basket and share them with teachers.
5. Appreciate them all the time
Teachers need to know we see them every single day. They go above and beyond day after day, the entire year. Visit their classrooms to say hi and ask them how they’re doing.
Drop them a note now and then to thank them for doing a great job. Leave them a sticky note on their door, in their mailbox, or on their desk to encourage them if you know they’re having a bad day. They won’t object to having fun treats like cookies and milk, popcorn, chips, drinks, COFFEE, or CHOCOLATE randomly throughout the year too.
There are so many fun ways to say “Thank You” to teachers. Meet with your parent organization and others who may want to help plan for a week-long celebration.
Teia Hoover Baker is an educator, published author, and entrepreneur. She is an innovative, devoted educator whose career has been dedicated to coordinating programs that support struggling learners. Her passion is meeting students where they are and guiding them to excel. Her main focus is always what is best for children. Teia holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism and a Master’s of Education. In her spare time, she enjoys being Lovie to her growing grandchildren.