Savannah, a current Possip reporter, and former educator shares six creative ways to celebrate teachers for all that they do!
Teacher appreciation week is just around the corner! We know that over the last few years, our teachers have worked harder than ever to support students academically, emotionally, and socially. While receiving a coffee gift card or a note of appreciation is always welcomed, Possip wants to share a few creative ways to thank our extraordinary teachers this year!
Here are six creative ways to appreciate
your teachers this May:
1. Breakfast / Lunch
Choose one or two meals during teacher appreciation week to cater breakfast or lunch for teachers. Additionally, be sure to tell teachers in advance when this is happening. Not having to plan breakfast or lunch is just as much of a gift as actually sharing in a delicious meal. Free teachers from any duties during this time, and allow them to show up in whatever way feels best for them. Consider supporting a local restaurant or vendor in the process to further support your community.
2. Wish Lists
Your school or district may have guidelines about donations, so be sure to review those beforehand. If it’s possible, encourage individual teachers, grade-levels, or departments to create running wishlists that are then available to the community. Spotlight certain items in your weekly or monthly bulletin home to families. For example, “Ms. B’s fourth grade class is working on a science experiment, and they need 22 sets of protective glasses. Here’s how you can support…”.
3. Turn a Meeting into a Self-Care Opportunity
Meetings are important, but after a full day of teaching, they can also be exhausting. Consider sending out an email with any necessary information and canceling the meeting. Encourage teachers to instead use the hour to do something for themselves,
4. Door Affirmations
Throughout the week, encourage students to write words of affirmation for their teachers. You can collect thes during homeroom, at the beginning of each day, or in a collection box. Divide up these notes, and use them to decorate the classroom door of each teacher in your building. Consider using other decorative materials as well that makes this teacher feel special and recognized. Student leadership, or even administration could be responsible for the execution!
5. Get Out of Class Free Card
Issue each teacher one “get out of class free card.” This card would essentially provide them with a sub for one class period. It would provide them with some extra prep time or self-care time. You can create stipulations around how the card is used. Such as, “must be requested two days in advance,” so you can prepare accordingly to find whatever support is needed.
6. Teacher Gift Baskets
If your budget allows it, consider gifting each teacher with a small teacher gift basket! If possible, create gift baskets that are somewhat unique to each teacher for an extra personal touch! While we all know teachers love colorful pens and classroom goodies, consider adding in items that remind your teachers they are also more than just teachers! You could also encourage students to anonymously drop off family donations to the front office during teacher appreciation week. This could then be added to this gift basket!
When I taught high school English, I taught one student in particular who worked very hard, but sometimes struggled to grasp the concepts. During homeroom, we would often practice her writing skills, then during the last few minutes, she would teach me about something she loved and felt confident in–makeup. At the end of the year, she gifted me with her favorite eye-shadow palette. Over the years, I’ve received different gifts from students, but this one was incredibly memorable because it was personal.
Why Celebrating Teachers Matters
Teaching is quite honestly, an incredibly difficult and demanding job. Additionally, there are moments when it feels like asks and expectations are only being added to one’s plate, when teachers are already operating from a place of fatigue, frustration, and sometimes scarcity.
While we can’t change the system overnight, thinking of creative ways to celebrate our teachers shows them how much we truly value them as teachers and as individuals. So this year, rather than just emailing out $5 virtual coffee gift cards, consider putting in some extra thought and creativity when celebrating your teachers!