An apple for the teacher? Banners in the sky? How will you celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week? Learn about the gestures that touch educators' hearts. This week, Education World reports what teachers say makes them feel honored and valued. Included: Activities for administrators, parents, and students to show teachers just how much they mean during Teacher Appreciation Week.
For the past 15 years, communities across the country have set aside the first full week of May, including the second Tuesday, National Teacher Day, to shower their teachers with well-deserved thanks. Are you looking for the very best ways to show your teachers just how important they are? Education World asked teachers around the country about their favorite Teacher Appreciation Week celebrations.
"At my school, the parents from the Parent-Teacher Club give us a wonderful luncheon," Janice Goff, from Dry Branch (Georgia) Elementary School, told Education World. "This is one of only two times during the year that our whole faculty gets to sit down to a meal together. Parent volunteers keep our classes for one and a half hours while we enjoy ourselves and visit with one another. We are treated royally during Teacher Appreciation Week, and it does make us feel that we get some recognition for our hard work."
Many teachers look forward to just such a peaceful, leisurely meal among friends during Teacher Appreciation Week. Add decorations, tablecloths, and real dishes, and you can turn a teachers room into an oasis of elegance.
"Our parents outdid themselves," said Sarah Maxwell, from St. James Episcopal School in Del Rio, Texas. "We were served breakfast every day. Our lounge was decorated with spring flowers and paper butterflies. Different classes had made each day's tablecloth during rainy days when they stayed inside for P.E. We are very grateful as teachers to have such support," Maxwell told Education World. "I feel very lucky!"
A small token to commemorate each day of the week can make a very big impression. Just ask Dee DeCarlo from Kingwood Elementary School in West Virginia.
"Our PTA and student council have given the teachers a gift each day," DeCarlo told Education World. She received a soup bowl with a packaged soup mix, a candy-filled plastic apple, a tea bag with a saying attached, a homemade brownie, and a bag of popcorn. "Both groups took the time to put little poems in each gift! The gifts were both kind and much appreciated," DeCarlo added.
Parents might help students come up with a list of nice things to do for their teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week -- such as putting away supplies, making a card, or helping clean out a classroom closet. Kids love to help their teachers and will jump at the chance to give their own kind of thanks.
"One of my students nominated me for Disney's American Teacher Award," Ellen Berg told Education World. Berg, who teaches at Turner M.E.G.A Magnet Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri, said, "I actually cried. I have never received such a beautiful compliment in all of my life."
"In a letter, a first grader told me that she hoped I would never forget her because she would never forget me," Jacqueline Margraf, who teaches at Wading River (New York) Elementary School, told Education World. "Her mom framed the letter, and it sits on my desk at school!"
Teachers agree that good teaching is its own reward, but Teacher Appreciation Week is a great time to let teachers know how they have touched kids' lives. Although every teacher appreciates the hoopla and gifts, "It's the visits and letters from former students that mean the most to me," Deborah Bambino from Central East Middle School Annex in Philadelphia told Education World.
"I received a beautiful letter from the mother of a student who succeeded at my school after very difficult years elsewhere," Jackie Hastings of Middletown (Connecticut) High School told Education World. "I got to watch the light go on for him! Making a difference -- that's enough thanks for me. That's why I wanted to be a teacher in the first place."
Do you need more ways to thank the teachers in your life? Teachers and parents around the country told Education World about these favorites:
Need more ideas? Check out this additional Internet resource for Teacher Appreciation Week: About National Teacher Day. This National Education Association site provides a history of Teacher Day, the National Teacher Day Proclamation, sample press releases, and additional activity suggestions for parents and administrators.
Many thanks to the following teachers and parents who contributed to the Education World idea file:
Article by Leslie Bulion
Copyright © Education World
Last updated 04/17/2012