Gift of Gratitude: 10 Ways to Show Teachers Your Appreciation

By: Dr Robyn Silverman

Teacher Appreciation Week has become an annual event in many schools around the world. Countless teachers, coaches, and aides can be a great help and inspiration to our children throughout the day as well as in the after-school hours. It's our obligation to show them how much their effort and patience means to us.

Everyone likes to be told that they're doing a great job. Our teachers are some of our most valuable resources whether they teach your children during the school day or in the after school hours.

Here are 10 ideas to get the most grateful parents started:

(1) Send out a press release: Press releases are simple and free. Write up a letter from the class or school and send it to the press for all the community to see. Send a picture of the teacher or of the teacher with his or her students with the press release.

(2) Prepare a meal: Take turns with some other parents bringing in breakfast or lunch for the teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week.

(3) Send a note of gratitude: Think about your favorite attributes of this special teacher and write your thoughts down for her to enjoy. Teachers appreciate your words of support. Site specific ways that they have helped your children or family. You might think that "everyone" will send a note of appreciationbut many won't. Be the person who provides a heartfelt thanks to a favorite teacher. On a strict budget? Send a free e-card or have your child color a construction-paper card from scratch!

(4) Give a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant: Sometime during the month ask your teacher's friend about which restaurant is a top-pick or ask the teacher where s/he might suggest you take your spouse to lunch or dinner over the weekend. A gift certificate to a meal you know they'll enjoy will be a great gift for any teacher!

(5) Present them with a gift certificate for a spa service: Many teachers don't take the time to pamper themselves. Give them the gift of relaxation as a real treat!

(6) Personalize t-shirts or coffee mugs: Snap a photo of the class or have the kids make a spacial class collage. Get it transferred onto a mug, shirt, or book bag so she'll always have it to enjoy!

(7) Picture it: Take a picture of the class and put it into a special picture frame for the teacher to hang up in the classroom or keep in her home office. You can even personalize the picture frame with the teacher's name, the grade, and the year with a little engraved brass tag or ask an artistic friend to paint it right onto frame.

(8) Before of after-class surprise: Bring in home-made cookies, a personalized cake, or a few pizzas so that your favorite teachers can enjoy a well-deserved treat.

(9) Walk of fame: You can get creative--buy a remnant of red carpet, roll of red felt, or paint a roll of butcher paper red and tape it to the floor of the center hallway at the school or facility. Make gold stars with each teacher's name on one. Ask the students, administrators, parents, and staff to greet these special teachers as they enter the school. Then make the teachers feel extra special-- take pictures for posterity (with the students!) and celebrate!

(10) Have a give-back day: The best way to show gratitude is to give back! Help clean the school, paint, and wash the windows! Raise money for the teachers' favorite charity. Plant a tree or some flowers! Donate some books to the library in their honor! Refill their supply closet! There are many things you can do to give back to the people who've helped your family all year long!

Anyway you do it, the important thing is that you show and tell the teachers and coaches in your child's life that they're making a positive difference in the lives of others. So many of these amazing role models are under-appreciated and under-praised. Today is a great day to tell them how much they mean to us.

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