When I was a first-year teacher, I frequently joked with my students about how much I loved chocolate. That year for Teacher Appreciation Week, I received a gift of chocolate from every single student! Each chocolate gift came with a heartfelt note, and although I enjoyed the chocolate, I treasured the notes. Gifts from the heart that are planned with the recipient in mind will always be a hit.
With Teacher Appreciation Week this week, you may wonder how you can show your appreciation to your children’s teachers. There are lots of cute teacher gifts that are ready made and inexpensive, and you can certainly go that route. However, if you want to give something from the heart with more intentionality, here are some ideas that could have more impact.
Tell them what you appreciate about them. A sincere note of gratitude from you, your child or both is a treasure. Tell them that you see how hard they work and how much they care. Sharing how those efforts are impacting your child will fuel their souls and help carry them to the finish line of a difficult year.
Talk about them to others. If you have something nice to say, say it proudly and publicly! Consider writing to the principal or the superintendent and recounting the many things you appreciate about your child’s teacher. You can even go the extra mile and copy the teacher on the email. Send a thank you letter to be shared in the “letters to the editor” column in your local paper for the whole community to see. Whatever your preferred medium, complimenting your child’s teacher in the presence of others can have a hugely positive impact.
Give them the gift of time. Teachers work long hours with little time to plan during the workday, so most take their work home in the evenings and on the weekends. One of the best gifts I received as an educator was a monthly meal. One parent brought me a fully prepared meal once a month so that I wouldn’t have to shop and cook that evening. Best gift ever!
Show them respect and support. Use this time to grow a habit of demonstrating respect for teachers. Teachers are highly educated professionals who know what they’re doing and deserve to make a decent wage. Often, when budget season rolls around, teachers are asked to forego raises and do more with less resources and support. Teachers spend their days teaching your child to be knowledgeable, skilled, creative, kind and independent. They have an extraordinary influence on their students. If you value that, speak up.
The last few years in education have brought unprecedented challenges that continue to evolve. Teachers are working harder than ever to combat those challenges for your children, often at their own expense. This would be a great year to show your support for your child’s teacher in a meaningful way. Whatever you decide to do, if you are sincere and specific, you can’t go wrong.
Treat yourself to the gift of continuing your education and enhancing your instruction. Explore American College of Education’s online education programs.