Here are seven ways school leaders can thank their educators for Teacher Appreciation Week.
It’s the first week of May, and that signifies an important event in education: Teacher Appreciation Week! And our nation’s educators have never needed to feel appreciated more than they do now.
While the field of education has celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week for decades, the week has taken on even more significance in recent years amid the struggles and stressors of being an educator throughout COVID-19.
“This pandemic has already revealed that: schools are so much more than just schools; many people now realize how tough it is to be a teacher and that teachers are grossly underpaid; teachers are irreplaceable and essential to learning and education.” — Nicholas Ferroni, High School Teacher and Education Activist
Teaching is an understatement to say teaching is a challenging profession. But it’s also an incredibly rewarding one — some may even see teaching as their life’s calling — that affects millions of students day in, day out.
After all, who doesn’t fondly remember a teacher they once had, a teacher who left a lifelong impact — or perhaps even changed the trajectory of their adult lives?
A week isn’t enough to express appreciation for teachers. Our hope is that after this blog, you’ll be inspired enough to routinely celebrate and acknowledge your teachers’ hard work.
Here are seven creative ways to thank your teachers — not just for this week but also for all year long!
Teacher Appreciation Idea #1: Provide Breakfast from a Favorite Bakery
Set up a breakfast buffet for teachers to enjoy before students flock to campus. Decorate the area, play some fun music, and encourage everyone to start the day on a positive note.
If you can make this a regular thing — say, catered breakfast once a week — you’ll give your staff an extra reason to look forward to coming in. Plus, breakfast will be one less thing they have to think about on those mornings.
In addition to breakfast, consider sharing a list of where teachers can eat for free or for a discount this week. For example, Delish has one here, but I recommend you create your own based on what’s available in your community.
Teacher Appreciation Idea #2: Promote #ThankATeacher on Your School’s Social Media
Each day of the week, highlight one (or a handful) of your teachers on your school’s social media accounts. Use the hashtag #ThankATeacher to join in on the nationwide fun, and encourage your current families to share their child’s teacher when/if they’re featured.
Teacher Appreciation Idea #3: Lighten Their To-Do List
Decorating or cleaning a classroom, topping off their supplies, grading tests or homework, or picking up an extra lunch or recess duty — these are just a handful of ways you can take something off a teacher’s to-do list.
If you have a teacher who’s deep in the weeds, ask them what you or a volunteer can take on to make their day a little easier.
Also, get students involved when possible! What teacher wouldn’t be touched by walking into a clean or fully stocked classroom that their students made happen?
If your students have volunteer days or volunteer hours to meet, perhaps this is something they can apply those hours to.
Teacher Appreciation Idea #4: Give Each Teacher a Handwritten Note
Our lives are digital in so many ways, but one thing nearly everyone loves is a personalized handwritten note. An email is easy to ignore, skim, or outright delete at first sight.
But a handwritten letter catches our attention. And they’re sentimental, so people (like myself) are far less inclined to throw them away.
Extra credit: Have their students create cards, too.
Teacher Appreciation Idea #5: Stock Their Classrooms
As the school year comes to a close, you likely have a handful of teachers whose classroom supplies are empty or close to it. Head to your local dollar store, and stock up on hot items: Kleenex, hand sanitizer, pencils, markers, and more! Don’t forget to grab a card while you’re there, too.
This list has a bunch of ideas for classroom supplies. The ideas range from pencils to Command strips and milk crates.
Extra credit: arrange the supplies and card in a basket or gift box.
Teacher Appreciation Idea #6: Give a Personalized Gift
Survey your teachers to learn about their favorite candy, restaurants, books, scents, coffee orders, colors, baked goods, fruits, and more.
For Teacher Appreciation Week (and really, for back-to-school day or “just because” moments), a gift basket full of their favorite items is sure to bring a smile.
Of course, you can always do a simple gift card, but taking their favorite stuff into consideration shows you really thought about them and wanted to give something thoughtful.
Teacher Appreciation Idea #7: Play the Long Game
Teacher Appreciation Week 2022 is this week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing for next year’s! When the new school year starts, think about something big you can do.
For example, if you have a teacher who will be retiring at the end of the 2022–2023 school year, gather cards all year long from their students (past and present) and colleagues. When next year’s Teacher Appreciation Week rolls around, you can give them a folder full of these warm messages.
Think of teacher appreciation as a year-round initiative rather than just one week to go above and beyond as a leader. Use this week to get started. Then keep that momentum going, going, going all year long.
Supported teachers are happy teachers. And happy teachers are far more likely to stay in the classroom for years to come.