It’s safe to say there has never been a school year quite like this one. Teachers have been working harder than ever—launching virtual classrooms, checking in on each student’s needs, and transforming lessons and activities to be remote-friendly. Even during a pandemic, they’re there for their students. Let’s also remember that many teachers have their own kids, whom they’re also caring for and teaching at home.
This National Teacher Day, May 5, and Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4-8, communities across the country will celebrate teachers—thanking them for their dedication, hard work, and the lasting impact they have on our nation’s kids. And this year especially, they deserve an extra-long standing ovation.
Here are some ideas on how to show your child’s teacher your appreciation for all that they give.
- A Personal Note. Nothing beats a heartfelt, thoughtful thank you. Take some time to reflect and convey how your child’s teacher/educator impacted them, and what they’ve meant to you. Bonus: send a note to the school’s principal saying why you appreciate them.
- A “Thank You” From Your Child. This could be a handwritten note, an artwork, or even a video message. Ask your child to share their favorite memory from the year, what they will miss most about their teacher or the special things they learned from them. Take a photo of your child holding a “Thank You” sign and share it with their teacher.
- Social Love. With the teacher’s permission, give them a shout-out on Instagram. Thanking them online will give them well-deserved recognition and send good feels through a larger community. It may even inspire others to thank their own beloved teachers and share favorite school year memories. You can also tag the post with #ThankATeacher to join NEA’s larger movement online.
- Gift cards. You can never go wrong with gift cards. Get creative! Cards for things like iTunes, Amazon, booksellers, Netflix, and HBO can be used right away, while those for movie tickets, coffee, and restaurants will be a welcome treat when social distancing starts to relax.
- Classroom Supplies. Hopefully, someday soon teachers won’t have to spend their own money on classroom supplies. In the meantime, your donations will help—everything from pens, notepads, books, and post-its to arts and craft supplies. If it’s difficult to deliver the real thing, a gift card could do.
- Going Big. Go in with another family or two for something really special—for instance, a spa day, massage, or a membership to a local botanical garden or museum.
- A Meaningful Donation. If you know a cause that they’re passionate about, making a contribution to a charitable organization in their honor would mean a lot.
- Volunteer. Given that teachers are designing and growing new learning environments—sometimes on the fly—check-in and offer your time or expertise. They may need help with end of year activities or other virtual events. And something to keep in mind for next year or whenever classes move back to the classroom: teachers appreciate the help and support all year round! Be a teacher’s ally—offer to volunteer in the classroom or at school events.
Getting through these trying times truly takes a village—and teachers are so often at the heart of our communities. Thanking and celebrating them in your own thoughtful way will remind them of their importance, influence, and unique gift of service.
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