Teacher Appreciation Week this year is May 4 - 8. Many teachers admit that extra love and appreciation would feel good, especially this year. In the US, approximately three million K-12 teachers had to adapt quickly to teaching virtually rather than in person. They miss their students and worry about them.
Remote teaching is an entirely different experience than teaching in person because they don't get to see their students' reactions. They miss seeing the look of relief when a student grasps a concept. They want to return to days of sparking animated class discussions. Many teachers are working longer hours to learn unfamiliar technology and feel added stress about meeting students' needs with limited resources. Teachers yearn for the smiles, hugs, high-fives, and other interactions that make teaching fulfilling.
At the same time, many parents have realized that their lovely children can sometimes be challenging students. Parents, now more than ever, want to make sure their children's teachers know how much they are valued.
During Teacher Appreciation Weeks of previous years, students often gifted their teachers with notes, drawings, flowers, gift cards, and treats. Parent organizations and districts often provided teachers with breakfast or lunch. This year, social distancing guidelines have made it a little more challenging to celebrate teachers.
Luckily, there are still ways to shower teachers with tokens of affection. Start by asking your children what their teachers like. Involving the children makes the gift more meaningful. Then, choose one of these nine ways to show teachers how much they mean to you and your family:
- Buy a gift certificate online and send it to your children's teachers’ email addresses. You could use an app like Venmo or Zelle to collect money from families in the class to give one large gift certificate. Teachers usually love gift certificates from restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores, and retailers.
- Send a video message from your child. If you have the ability, you can collect video messages from many students and splice them together in one video.
- If your child's teachers are willing to give out their addresses, send them flowers, a basket of fruit, or lunch. Ask about any allergies first.
- Ask the teacher how you can help. An act of service, such as mowing their lawn, might reduce their stress more than you know.
- Organize a day at the school where students can drop off non-perishable gifts and cards and still maintain social distancing. Despite what many youngsters believe, teachers do not live at the school. However, teachers will probably return to campus one day, and then they will enjoy the bounty.
- Offer to collect gifts and cards on your porch. Then you can assemble everything as a class gift and take it over to the teacher's front step.
- If showing your appreciation in person is meaningful to you, email them during Teacher Appreciation Week. Let them know how and when you would like to honor them. Ask if your plan works for them. Be aware that many teachers may want to maintain social distancing for a long time.
- Use an online greeting card site to send a free ecard to your children's teachers. You can customize the card and deliver to their email address. You might want to try one of these sites:
- Just say, "thank you." Remind your child to say thank you in emails, class discussions, and any other opportunity.
Most teachers don't want elaborate or expensive gifts from their students. They do like to know that families appreciate the effort they are putting into supporting their students.