Teachers are often considered the unsung heroes of our society. From inspiring students to explore new subjects to offering counseling during a tough time, teachers can be caring adults in children’s lives who can have a profound impact. To celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, we talked to some of our Parent Toolkit experts from across the country to hear their ideas for the best ways to celebrate teachers.
Remember, bigger isn’t always better. One of the best ways to show your appreciation is to keep it simple and personal. “A handwritten note is always a treasure. I have a Tupperware that contains all the notes I have received from parents and students over the years,” says former New Jersey State Teacher of the Year Explore
While handwritten notes can be a great token, parents and students looking to do something a bit bigger can showcase their appreciation more publically. Jocelyn Chadwick, the Vice President of the National Council of Teachers of English, says one option can be to write a heartfelt letter to the teacher and then send it to the editors of your local newspaper.
Remind your child to try their best in school, and value their education. It can be a surprising way to thank a teacher. “Students show that they appreciate the work I am doing when they put forth their best effort. The fact that they read closely what I have asked them to read or that they continue to revise the writing piece that I have asked them to work on makes me feel appreciated” says Cathy Cartier, a high school teacher from Missouri. She adds, “Parents who collaborate with me in preparing their students are one of my best assets. Parents who value their children's education make me feel appreciated.”
While teachers do a lot of work with the children in class, don’t forget everyone else who has a hand in making your child’s experience at school what it is. “I was reluctant to call the first week of May, “Teacher Appreciation Week, ” says former Kansas principal Michael Pragman. “There were so many people involved with the success of our students and community. I slowly integrated all of the one-day celebrations of Counselors' Day, Nurses’ Day, Transportation week, etc., etc., into Staff Appreciation Week.”
The best way to celebrate additional staff? The same way you would the teachers. “The most prized memory this week came in the form of parents and students writing (not typing ) at least one positive note to a teacher or staff member regarding a specific memory or content that tied that child or family to the school,” says Pragman. “Overwhelmingly, custodians, secretaries, teachers, paraprofessional, believed this one noticeable gesture brought our school community closer than ever before.”
Make it Memorable
If you want to do something other than thank you letters, keep in mind a personal gesture can have the most meaning. “One of my favorites has been when parents compiled a handmade book for me with letters from all the students accompanied by their photos,” says high school teacher Barbara LaSarcina. “It is one of my most treasured items.”
Coordinating with other parents and students can also make the day even more memorable. “One year, each student brought me one rose and by the end of the day I had 104 roses!” LaSarcina adds. “A simple thank you also goes a long way.”
What are you doing this week to appreciate the teachers in your life? Let us know in the comments below.