Teachers keep our kids safe, intellectually stimulated, and socially active. They provide thoughtful lessons and inclusive learning spaces. Teachers lead and empower students to develop themselves academically, artistically, and athletically. They organize opportunities for growth and reflection.
Teaching is a big job, and it can be tiring. Therefore, educators deserve ample recognition. While we can thank teachers any time of year, May is the official month to host Teacher Appreciation Week (around Mother’s Day). This year, the dates are May 8th – 12th. Does your school celebrate?
As a substitute teacher, I’ve worked in a variety of settings: private, charter, and public. Thus, these experiences informed and inspired the fictional classroom in my novel. I’ve also tutored and taught at summer camp. I think each educational institution (or homeschool practice) offers something unique and beautiful.
With that, I’ve been involved in the Parent Club community at my kids’ school for several years. In addition to serving as secretary before, I’ve routinely assisted with Teacher Appreciation Week. Our Parent Club coordinates this tremendous effort, and many hands are needed. Committees help accomplish the gift of gratitude.
Day One (typically Tuesday) begins with flowers. Volunteers set up labeled vases, and students fill them with picked or purchased flowers that they bring to school. Parents then deliver the bouquets around the PK-8th grade campus. It’s a lovely start to the week.
Day Two includes a mobile coffee cart, from where teachers can order lattes or smoothies, courtesy of the club (and funds raised throughout the year). Parents bake tasty treats to accompany the drinks.
On Day Three, teachers have a chance to enjoy a short neck massage, thanks to provisions from a local mom’s chiropractic business. This third day is also when students sign cards for their instructors. This is my main contribution: arranging the creative occasion. The activity is simple and sweet. Children can choose from colorful writing utensils and decorate multi-page cards with stickers and stamps.
To prepare, I bind several sheets of paper with a 3-hole punch and ribbon. Alternatively, our Parent Club has ordered bound booklets from an office supply store, and in that case, the top sheet was laminated. It’s important to have a list of employees and to label the cards accordingly. This way, students can locate what they wish to sign, considering academics, art classes, PE, support staff, lunch chefs, bus drivers, and beyond. The cards are usually spread out – and situated by grade or type – across several tables. Lunch or recess is a great time to do this. Of course, kids could also make and personalize their own cards.
On Friday, Day Four, teachers get gift certificates, and depending on the budget, our Parent Club has even invited them out for a drink and bite to eat after the workweek!
Gift cards to local restaurants, establishments, or grocery stores are good. Certificates to Amazon and chain stores are fine, too. Lotions, mints, tea, candles, coffee mugs, plants, and chocolate make nice presents as well.
How will you honor your children’s teachers this May? And if you are an educator, be sure to celebrate yourself!
Furthermore, to help teachers year-round and donate to classrooms in a community near you, please click here.