Teacher Appreciation Week is here! As a former teacher and in my current role engaging with teachers across Tennessee, I love that we celebrate and recognize our teachers. In case you’re stumped for ways to meaningfully show your appreciation for the teachers in your life, here are a few suggestions…and most won’t cost you a dime!
1.) Give the gift of time
Ask a teacher what they need most, and time will be at the top of the list. You can give the gift of time by volunteering for your teacher. For example: you could help make copies for the next week or two, take care of the last book order for the year, put together summer learning activities, or plan an afternoon project with the class. And if your own time during the school day is tight, remember that some of these projects can be completed at home.
2.) Tell them thank you
Teachers don’t hear those two words enough! Whether you tuck a heartfelt note in your child’s folder, send a kind email, or your child writes something special – I can guarantee your words will be treasured now and for years to come. I’ve saved precious notes, some complete with gluey popsicle sticks and battery-powered Christmas lights. These will always have a special place in my heart. And if you really want to surprise a teacher, track down one of your own teachers and tell them how much your learning has helped you over the years.
3.) Replenish the school supplies
Whether you donate them yourself or coordinate a class- or school-wide donation drive, school supplies are always needed. A few packs of pencils, fresh Expo markers, or new glue sticks are always welcome, even toward the end of the school year!
4.) Share your talent
Teachers love to bring the world into their classrooms, so consider sharing your talents and experiences with students. If you’ve traveled the globe, find time to visit a classroom and share what you saw and experienced. If you have a job-related skill that you’d like to share, bring in some supplies and let the students experience it for themselves. And if you’re not sure you have a talent to share, check out ideas here from a recent Student Professional Development Day. From yoga to balancing a checkbook to robotics, anyone can help!
Those in America’s classrooms are shaping our future for generations to come, and there’s simply no work that’s more important. So, whether you choose one idea or several, please take some time this week to celebrate our teachers.
Cathy Pressnell is a former third grade teacher and 2016 Tennessee Teacher of the Year. She currently serves as the director of educator engagement.