How to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week


How to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week

How to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week

SoalSMA - How to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week - It's been a tough couple of years for America's public school teachers.  As schools transitioned to online learning amid the coronavirus pandemic, educators across the country rose to the challenge and quickly adapted to meet the needs of their students.  Now that students are back in person, teachers are working hard to make up for lost school time.

Teacher Appreciation Week, celebrated the first full week of May, is a time to honor teachers who inspire and equip young students to grow to their full potential.

Appreciation notes don't have to be expensive to show teachers that they are valued.  Here are some tips from educators on how you and your child can show you care.

Consider self-care gifts

"The teachers I work with all agree that 'self-care' is a big theme this year," says Erin Triplett, a first-grade teacher at Ben Franklin Academy in Colorado.  2022 Elementary Teacher of the Year for the Douglas County School District.

“Parents gave my co-worker a one-month membership to a special gym, which she absolutely loves,” says Triplett.  "Another family gave me products that I love, like lip balm, face masks, and lotion."

Small, inexpensive over-the-counter items like chocolates, bath bombs, and foot lotions can also work.  Triplett said gifts like these give teachers a little "escape" from what often feels like a 24-hour job.

Make it personal

"We also love gifts that come from the heart and show how much our kids know us. "For Christmas, one of my students insisted on giving me a dog treat because he knows how much I love my puppies," Triplett said.

Polly Samsock, a seventh-grade teacher in Bethesda, Maryland, said she loves gifts that play on her role as an English teacher and her love of words.  “Last year, parents put together goodie bags that included KIND bars and hot chocolate bombs,” she says.  The gifts included notes thanking teachers for their “kindness” and “You're the bomb!

At another time, Samsok said, "I received various scratch-off lottery tickets: 'Being my teacher, I hit the jackpot with you!'

Try something homemade 

In the year  "The best gifts are the ones made by children," says Juliana Urtubbey, 2021 National Teacher of the Year. She recommends giving a handmade card, decorated with the student's drawings and filled with special memories, including the student's favorite learning moments.

Hilary Starkey, a kindergarten teacher in Jefferson County, Colorado, agrees that handmade gifts from students, like paintings and crafts, are always special.  “One of my favorite gifts was a plate with the fingerprints of each of my students, their name and the year I taught them.

Write a thank you note

Parents and students can never go wrong with a handwritten note.  Urtubey says she likes to read students' thank-you notes that acknowledge "how they feel seen" in the classroom, such as when she remembers their dog's name or how she greets them every morning when she stands at the door.

Both parent and child can write a thank you note to show they care.  Parents can mention teacher acts of kindness, big and small, like spending extra time helping a child with math homework.  "Just knowing that they see every bit of love and heart that we put into their children means a lot," Triplett said.

Urtubey wants families to know that language is not a barrier when parents write thank-you notes.  If a child's teacher does not speak the home language of the student's family, the parent can still write a thank you note.  A message with the help of a student (or Google Translate) is welcome.

And don't forget that teachers want to hear from past students, especially if a student has moved from elementary to middle school or from middle school to high school.  Teachers love to hear about the ways students have applied their learning at the upper grade level.

Send a voice message

The National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers union, asked teachers what they wanted for Teacher Appreciation Week.  "We've found that teachers want to be heard and recognized for the incredibly challenging work they've accomplished over the past two-plus years," said Richard Allen Smith, NEA's senior media strategist.

"We've put together a tool for people who want to send recognition and encouragement and let teachers know we're listening," he said.

Parents and students can text CELEBRATE to 48744 and get instructions to sign up for a teacher voicemail.  NEA Educators is signed up to receive these messages of encouragement during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 2-7, 2022.

Organize with the PTA

Families interested in participating in a joint Teacher Appreciation Week project or event can turn to the school's PTA or other parent organization associated with their child's school.

Parent-Teacher Associations regularly organize initiatives to support teachers and school staff throughout the year.  Tiffany Foster, president of the Durham Council of PTAs in North Carolina, said her group has previously partnered with local caterers to provide snacks, breakfast and lunch to teachers and staff.

Some PTAs organize a theme for each day, such as "bring your favorite teacher or staff member flowers" or "dress up as your favorite teacher or staff member".

For other signs of cooperation, Kimbrelle Barbosa Lewis, an elementary school principal in Tennessee and president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, recommends that families post signs of appreciation at school or leave sticky notes in the staff lounge of positive affirmations.  .

But however students and parents choose to honor the teachers in their lives, "any act of appreciation or gratitude means a lot to them," says Barbosa Lewis.

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